Vanishing of the Bees – Ways You Can Help Honeybees
This fascinating documentary chronicles the sudden disappearance of honeybees that started in 2006 when two beekeepers made the shocking discovery that their honeybee hives were empty. David Hackenberg was the first to discover the disappearance of the honeybee, when he returned to Florida to pick up his beehives and to his astonishment his bees had vanished. Soon after, Scientist Dennis Van Eaglesdorf of Pennsylvania, reported catastrophic honeybee losses happening all over the world, and named the disorder “Colony Collapse Disorder.”
Vanishing of the Bees follows two commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they struggle to keep their bees healthy and able to fulfill a demanding cross-country schedule of pollination contracts across the U.S. Commercial honeybees are needed to pollinate apples, almonds, cranberries, watermelon, broccoli and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables every year in the U.S. and all around the world, and must keep up a grueling schedule of pollination.
Filming across the U.S., in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the tremendous value and dependency we have on the honeybee, their alarming disappearance, possible causes, and how their collapse reflects a far more serious problem between the health of our environment and the state of life on earth. One beekeeper said, “When bees are dying, it’s a good indicator that something else is wrong in the environment and ecosystem, which will affect all of us. I think this is beyond us.”
Although the film does not draw any firm scientific conclusions as to the precise cause or causes of CCD, it does suggest a strong link between neonicotinoid pesticides and CCD.
Vanishing of the Bees raises our awareness and offers up ways that each of us can help the honeybees. With future generations inheriting the planet, there may be no better message to benefit our children and grandchildren than this vital and inspiring documentary. The honeybees are sending us a message—but will we listen and make the changes we need to make to create a healthier environment for us all?
Colony Collapse Symptoms
- No bees in the colony—often they fly away and never return; or there will be some live and dead bees around the beehives while the majority are gone, the Queen bee may be sick.
- Collapse happens quickly—in a matter of hours there is a sudden and rapid loss, and sometimes only baby bees are left.
- Hundreds and sometimes thousands of honeybee boxes in an immediate area will be empty, it’s a massive loss.
Some Quotes from the Film
“These were 5th generation beekeepers and this is a problem we have never seen before. This has never happened.”
“Two billion bees suddenly disappeared with a couple of weeks.”
“In the last few years, there haven’t been enough bees to pollinate the almond crops in California.”
“We’re going down a road to hell—with the factory farming of bees, trying to compete with honey from China or “funny honey,” which isn’t honey at all. This is a product that is filled with artificial sweeteners, and is tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals such as lead.”
Possible Causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
- Multiple new pathogens linked to an immune system compromise.
- Manmade chemicals including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and pesticides sprayed on industrial crop farms that are toxic to the environment. Also Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops created by Monsanto that are heavily sprayed with systemic insecticides that kill bees.
- Bees are being transported further and further away to meet a demanding schedule that can be stressing the bees. Bees today are transported cross-country multiple times in order to pollinate certain crops, and are shipped internationally to meet the demand.
- Queen bees are artificially inseminated using male drones selected for certain traits — that is limiting and narrowing the gene pool.
- Queen bees are being artificially replaced much earlier than their 5-year lifetime, by killing the queen bee in only a few months of life and replacing her with a younger, artificially raised queen. Artificial queen breeding is a primary concern for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.
- Lack of crop diversity that has disappeared and been replaced by Monsanto monoculture crops – or single crop farms that only grow one crop year-round like corn, cotton, soybeans, canola, and now alfalfa. Monoculture crop farming reduces biodiversity, which essentially starves bees to death. Also, monoculture crops require more pesticides because pests adapt to single crops. Because of Monsanto, monoculture farming has become the corporate factory farming of today in America.
- Parasites that are feeding on bees as a result of weakened bees that have a weakened immune system.
- Fungal bacteria that invades bees leaving them too weak to eat.
- Lack of nutrition caused by removing the honey from the hive and replacing it with empty sugars or sugar syrup that is devoid of any bee nutrition. Honey is made from plants that are full of nutrition for bees, but when it’s removed, they starve.
HOW YOU CAN HELP THE HONEYBEES
- Plant a garden that attracts bees – Plant wild flower seeds in your garden, container pots or window boxes. Flowers provide essential nutrition for bees. Marigolds and daisies or single flower tops are a good place to start that are easier for bees to access pollen from.
- Plant a garden for season–round blooms – Plant at least (3) different types of flowers to ensure blooms happen through several seasons. This will provide bees and pollinators a constant source of food. Here are some great ideas for what to plant.
- Build a community garden – Plant a community garden with your neighbors—plant fruits and vegetables that bees love.
- Give bees a fresh water bath – Bees need fresh water daily like all animals do. Fill a shallow container of water, get a fountain, a bird bath, make a pond in your garden, or place a fountain on your patio or deck—then add rocks and sticks so bees can land and drink and not drown. Make sure to replace the water everyday.
- Avoid using insecticides, herbicides and pesticides in your yard or garden – This is thought to be one of the primary causes of Colony Collapse especially using Neonicotinoids, which are found in Roundup and other commercial pesticide products. Avoid using any toxic chemicals around your home, and use only organic pest control instead.
- GMOs and genetic engineering of crops by Monsanto – Avoid buying and supporting GMO crops like soy, corn, wheat, rice and many others now, that are engineered with pesticides and herbicides to protect them. Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label on products.
- Support organic beekeepers – If you like to buy honey, buy it from local, organic beekeepers that help increase healthy bee colonies. Or buy honey from your local farmers market. Both support real organic honey.
- Replace your lawn with a garden! Then plant bee-friendly flowers and herbs. Here’s a great resource on planting a bee garden.
- Become a backyard beekeeper – City dwellers and people everywhere are joining the ranks to save the honeybees. You can join them. Learn more about backyard beekeeping.
- Share the message of saving the bees – Share this documentary and ways to help honey bees with your friends, family and community.
How to get involved in bee preservation:
- Pesticide Action Network Bee Campaign
- The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees
- American Beekeeping Federation
- Help the Honeybee
- Read the Vanishing of the Bees Study_Guide
Hear What Narrator Ellen Page Says About the Film
Film Length: 1 Hour, 27 Minutes
Originally Released: October 2009 in the UK
Get The Vanishing of the Bees
Visit the Website
Stream on Hulu
Stream on You Tube
Purchase the DVD (DVD is for personal use only)
Educational DVD for classrooms and school libraries
Narrated by: Ellen Page
Co-Director / Producer / Photography Director – George Langworthy
Co-Director / Producer – Maryam Henein
Executive Producers – Holly Mosher, Peter Heller and James Erskine
By Hive Mentality Films & Hipfuel Films
Uploaded for educational and informational purposes only. We do not own any right to the video.