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Archive for the ‘Nonfiction Discussion’ Category

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 09:03 AM khood4208

Vanishing of the Bees puts the buzz in beekeeping


Unexplained disappearances, sublethal killers, ruined livelihoods, pesticides and munitions, if you thought bees were a buzz kill, the Vanishing of the Bees screened Thursday in the appropriately chilly back room of the Sun People Dry Goods store located in the Spokane Farmer’s Market building proved otherwise to me and a group of 12 adults and children.

Directed and cowritten by George Langworthy (Breezeway, Cake: A Wedding Story) and Maryam Heinem (Catwoman, Who Killed the Honey Bee?, Hollywood lives), with another writer credit for James Erskin (EMR, The Human Face, One Night in Turin, Oil Storm), Vanishing of the Bees chronicles the storybook tale of the honeybee. The story begins with the picturesque buzz of a bee at work and moves into the 21st century plague of the honeybee, colony collapse disorder where previously thriving hives lose thousands of bees over the course of days or hours without a dead body trail.


Vanishing of the Bees centers around David Mendes and David Hackenberg, beekeepers based in Florida who sounded the alarm for bees’ plight in 2007. The pair travels to devastated hives and candid interviews highlight the financial and emotional ordeals beekeepers experience as their livelihoods vanish. They also note questionable bee keeping practices like feeding bees sugar water, cutting the queen bee’s life to a few months rather than 5 years, and the war time chemical munitions markets that evolved into today’s pesticides. Sublethal pesticides are of particular concern because they build build up in the soil and insect tissues and pose health risks as yet to be explained by science. France had success eliminating certain sublethal pesticides, so American beekeepers believe they can too, but they need the science to prove it for the Environmental Protection Agency.


Vanishing of the Bees’ narrative tends to drag by comparison with the explosive ADD addled movies of today, but the subject doesn’t need fluff. We learn about the honeybee hive as a model for the sacred feminine, we’re pushed to buy organic because dead bees show unsustainable contradictions in our agriculture complex, and quotes from folks like Tolstoy and Einstein teach us to relish the complexity of hive-human nature and we do because if bees are afraid and we aren’t, we’ll be in a world of hurt.


See the documentary yourself on Netflix or visit and pay $3.99 for a one time view or buy the DVD for $14.99.