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.”
Oh dear.

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.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. OMG! You cited King Missle (detachable… la la ). They were one of my favorite ridiculous bands in my juniorhigh/high school years. You rock!

    Yeah this is stupid hippie shit btw.

  2. OMG! you listened to that in junior high? I saw them live…

    during my PhD program.

    *weeps over her old age*

  3. Some things I think are completely out to lunch, others I tend to think of as a little bit quaint and harmless. This… I’m not sure what to think. But you’re right about one thing; at least they’re trying. And if they need to resort to a little bit of pseudo-scientific curiosity to get the point across, then maybe some stupid mystical hippie shit is what’s needed to get the populus onside.

    One battle at a time, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.

  4. She has worked developing numerous documentaries on topics ranging from Creationism and Family Annihilators.

    Two things. First, “ranging from Creationism and Family Annihilators” to what? Second, what in blazes is a “Family Annihilator”, something like a T-1000?

  5. Actually, per the post (*cough*):

    “family annihilators” are apparently fathers who snap and kill their families.

    The T-1000 is a much cooler idea, though.

  6. >*weeps over her old age*

    Whatever. By the time Detachable Penis came out, I was nearly 10 years past my PhD. Here, have a cookie.

    My take home from the video is that CCD is not due to bees being raptured, but that their chakras are misaligned.

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