Hmm. There is apparently a documentary in the works called “Vanishing of the Bees.” (It’s a rather annoyingly flash-based site, so I can’t link you to individual pages. Even their blog is flash, which is just aggravating as heck to load.)
In general, I’m glad to see people promoting bees, and general knowledge of how intertwined our food supply and lives are with these little animals. But…some things about this documentary make me suspicious.
First, the lead person on this describes herself thusly:
” following a near death experience several years ago, Maryam delved into the science of nutrition and alternative healing….She has worked developing numerous documentaries on topics ranging from Creationism and Family Annihilators.”
She definitely writes articles that are conspicuously long on spiritualism and short on science. I wasn’t able to find any information on the documentaries mentioned in the bios, although “family annihilators” are apparently fathers who snap and kill their families.
Here is some footage of her communing with “ghost bees” in the Lotus Position:
You can see the trailer for the film here–some of the people that are interviewed are scientists I recognize. The trailer starts, though, with someone suggesting humans have a “genetic memory” of our association with bees. The text describing the film on their site mentions the “mythic spirit of the honeybee.” Oh dear, again.
The site itself is very much anti-pesticide, pro-organic and biodynamic farming. That’s ok–organic isn’t a bad thing at all–but the tone of some of the blog posts is kind of….over the top. From a blog entry about the eradication of Varroa mite:
“Last April, the island of Oahu was stricken with mites for the very first time and they need to keep the problem contained. I didn’t believe him the first time when he told me they were going to eradicate every bee on the island, domesticated and feral…..
I don’t know their current state of affairs but to accomplish this feat they intended on depopulating all registered hives and poisoning all feral bee colonies. Kill Kill Kill. With Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals.”
I don’t think she realizes the seriousness of Varroa establishment, or understands the fragile biology of the Hawaiian Islands. Islands are the one place you actually can be confident of an eradication, and feral colonies are a serious threat. Additionally, the concern in Hawaii is always protecting the natural fauna–so many species are endemic and threatened, adding a new parasite into the mix is never a good idea. Honeybees are an introduced, domesticated species in both those areas.
I will also add that in December, one of the papers I listened to in the CCD symposium suggested Varroa mites could play a role in transmitting IAPV virus, since both mites and bees from CCD hives were found to have viral inclusions from IAPV in their DNA. It was preliminary data and isn’t proof by any stretch, but certainly another reason in favor of mite eradication–especially if native, endemic insect species could be put at risk.
In summary, it sounds like this will be a very well-intentioned movie, with some good information, and it should help people understand the life and work of beekeepers.
It will also contain lots of mystical shit.* That’s too bad.
*apologies to King Missile.