More Than Honey

More Than Honey documentary

Over the past fifteen years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world. The causes of this disaster haven’t yet been established. Depending on the regions of the world concerned, between 50% and 90% of the bees have disappeared.

This epidemic, of colossal violence and breadth, is spreading from beehive to beehive all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings. No visible predators. In a few months, the bees have thus literally been vanishing in the US, where the latest estimates are that a total of 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared in 27 states. In Germany, according to the national beekeepers association, one fourth of the colonies have been decimated, with losses reaching up to 80% in some farms. The same phenomenon has been observed in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Poland and England, where the syndrome has been baptized “the Mary Celeste Phenomenon”, after the name of the ship whose crew had vanished in 1872.

Scientists have found a name for the phenomenon that matches its scale: “colony collapse disorder”. They have good reason to be worried: 80% of plant species need bees to be pollinated. Without them, no pollinization, hence practically no fruits or vegetables. Three thirds of the cultures that feed humanity depend on them. Apis mellifera (honey bee) appeared on Earth 60 million years before man and is as indispensible to the economy as it is to man’s survival.

Should we incriminate pesticides and the medication used to combat them? Parasites such as varroa mites? New viruses? Travelling stress? The multiplication of electromagnetic waves disturbing the magnetite nanoparticles found in the bees’ abdomen? It seems that it is rather a combination of all these agents that has been destroying the bees’ immune defenses.

Fifty years ago, Einstein had already insisted on the dependence relation that bound the pollen gatherers to mankind: “If bees were to disappear from the globe,” he had predicted, “mankind would only have four years left to live.”

Certificate: tbc     Distributor: Eureka Entertainment

Dir. Markus Imhoof, Switzerland/Rest of the World, 2012, 95 mins, some subtitles, documentary

Cast: Fred Jaggi, Randolf Menzel, John Miller

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