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The Vanishing of the Bees
November 27, 2010 7:41 PM   Subscribe

A new documentary entitled "The Vanishing of the Bees", narrated by actress Ellen Page, begins showing on November 29th, 2010.

"Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.
Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.
Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.
Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.
"


A trailer has been released, as well as a list of show locations and dates.

There are plenty of ways to get involved on their site (Linked above, and here.) just view the tabs at the top.
posted by MHPlost (39 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
literally vanishing from their hives.

Like... sorcerers or something? I would have watched this even without the distressing implications for physics.
posted by Nattie at 7:49 PM on November 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss.

What is this line in the synopsis referring to?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:52 PM on November 27, 2010


I believe mystery has been solved - it's a combination between a virus and a bacterial infection.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:52 PM on November 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


See also Queen of the Sun.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:53 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an apiphobe, I approve of this. Bees don't do anything useful anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:59 PM on November 27, 2010


I remember seeing a disturbing documentary about killer bees or disappearing bees or [something disturbing concerning] bees when on a 15 hour flight, alone, at the age of 9 or 10.

If I never hear about spooky bee crises again IT WILL BE TOO SOON.
posted by prefpara at 8:00 PM on November 27, 2010


As an apiphobe, I approve of this. Bees don't do anything useful anyway.

Oh, honey.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:02 PM on November 27, 2010 [20 favorites]


I prefer agave nectar.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:07 PM on November 27, 2010


I first heard of CCD by watching Burt of Burt's Bees. I was surprised to find out there was such a man.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2010


I believe mystery has been solved - it's a combination between a virus and a bacterial infection.

A virus and a fungus, but whether it's the definitive cause has been questioned.
posted by jedicus at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


What Did the Pink Panther Say When He Stepped On An Ant?
Dead ant, dead ant....dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, deeeeaaad ant, dead ant.

or...

I told them to beehive themselves, but they didn't listen to me.

Ok... the joke will need more work. I'll be busy for a bit.
posted by panaceanot at 8:15 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


we should've never gone off the gold standard. WAKE UP, SHEEPLE.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:15 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Music by Brian McBride of Stars of the Lid.
posted by dobbs at 8:19 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beads?!
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:22 PM on November 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


actually, there are problems with the virus/fungus story.

What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths (By Katherine Eban, Fortune, Oct 2010)


it's likely that neonicotinoid pesticides play an important role in whatever is happening.
posted by Auden at 8:25 PM on November 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Until this year, we literally had no honeybees in our garden (which is large and 90% flowers) ever. But then a huge colony took up residence in the tree next door and we've got a ton of bee activity! Now that its cold, its been disappointing to see their activity slow, but I'm glad they're there.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:25 PM on November 27, 2010


Seriously, is there anything this woman can't do?
posted by adipocere at 8:35 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I gave seen bees spending a night out in sunflowers near my old place. There would be as many as three asleep in the sunflower. I think it might be interesting to do some clot dot studies on bees, see how many come and go, and where the bees ho don't come home actually are. I have heard of and seen T.V. Shows about HUGE apparently healthy hives in house that have been abandoned because of forclosure. Apparently this us a common problem in Florida.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:43 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


List of Crop Plants Pollinated by Bees.
posted by rtha at 8:46 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It amazes me that we cannot exactly pinpoint what is going on here. We've deduced how old the universe is and we can create antimatter, but we can't figure out why the goddam bees are dying.

Also, is there any food-related documentary that Michael Pollan is not in? Every time I eat I hear him talking in my ear.
posted by Camofrog at 8:49 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good news for Monsanto and shareholders I'm sure.
posted by the noob at 8:55 PM on November 27, 2010


The puns on here are ridic. I'm not sure if they're good because of how lame they are, or if they just aren't even good.


Seriously, is there anything this woman can't do? - adjpocere

My conclusions all say there isn't. Be sure to check her facebook fan page for all kinds of activism stuff.

Good news for Monsanto and shareholders I'm sure. - the_noob

Oh, those bastards.
posted by MHPlost at 9:00 PM on November 27, 2010


Bee Dance!
posted by tarantula at 9:13 PM on November 27, 2010


[insert obsequious Inception joke here]
posted by cthuljew at 11:30 PM on November 27, 2010


neonicotinoid pesticides

Thanks for bringing this up.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:00 AM on November 28, 2010


I believe burning Nic Cage alive will bring back our honey bees.
posted by boubelium at 1:05 AM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


There's something I've noticed lately, and I haven't been sure if it's the hive collapse thing or something that bees do normally...

I live in Burbank, and the bees around my apartment, near downtown, act strangely. For example, I frequently find dead bees lying on the sidewalk -- maybe half a dozen a day, when I'm paying attention. I'm not sure if bees have always died in plain sight like that and I never noticed until the whole hive collapse thing or what, or if it's unusual for that many bees to die like that. It's depressing though, to find them just lying there when I walk to the mailbox or the gym.

The WEIRDEST thing they'll do, though, is fly to the sidewalk literally right as I'm walking over that bit of ground, and they'll start doing their little bee dance. They seem oblivious to the danger of landing in a high traffic area -- twice now they've thrown themselves under my feet, so that I was a split second away from stepping on them -- and I'm not sure that any other bees can even see their dance. If the hive is nearby it's never been obvious, and once a bee threw itself to the pavement in the middle of a really wide crosswalk and began dancing so I don't know how there possibly could have been other bees to see it. I think that bee got ran over once the light turned green, but it was hard to tell. I kneeled down and watched one dance for a while on the sidewalk, which went on for some time. I kept looking around for other bees and didn't see any, though perhaps some were around... I always thought that they did the dance at the hive, though, or failing that, in a crowd of other bees.

I've begun seeing this frequently over the past year. I've wondered if it's related to the hive collapse stuff but it hasn't been clear; every now and then I find something that mentions the bees are "disoriented" but most stuff about hive collapse doesn't focus on anything like that, and several mention that the bees can appear otherwise normal so I'm not sure what to think. If this isn't normal bee behavior, it seems like something is messing with their brains, making them disregard danger and wander far away without knowing it; they seem vigorous enough when they dance so it doesn't seem like they're just getting sick and dying off. They are acting pretty mental around here, like little malfunctioning robots. :-/ If that is normal bee behavior, I guess numbers normally make up for a lot of reckless, unhelpful behavior...
posted by Nattie at 1:41 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently we should plant red or striped snapdragons. I hear bees are partial to them.
posted by Decani at 1:50 AM on November 28, 2010


I can't tell if the apiphobes in this thread are kidding, but agriculture DEPENDS upon bees for pollination. Without bees famine would prevail and we'd all be dead soon after.
posted by mistersquid at 6:37 AM on November 28, 2010


The bees aren't vanishing. They're just going home.
posted by feelinglistless at 6:46 AM on November 28, 2010


I can't remember what it was called, but I watched a documentary on TV some time last year about the various problems that are facing the world's bees. What was surprising to me is the way bees are managed and farmed, sometimes on huge industrial scales in the USA. You think it's all natural and bees go about their own business pollinating plants and crops, but there is much more to it than that.

For example, there was one beekeeper who literally had thousands upon thousands of hives. Once a particular fruit growing season begun (in this case it was peaches), he would seal up the hives with the bees still inside, load them onto big trucks and drive halfway across the continent to wherever the bees were needed.

To me, as a layman, that seemed wholly unnatural. But of course, if we need food on an industrial scale, we also need pollination on an industrial scale too.
posted by afx237vi at 6:56 AM on November 28, 2010


I believe burning Nic Cage alive will bring back our honey bees.

I'm not entirely convinced that this is true. However, I am totally open to experimentation to confirm or deny this.. bring on the Nic flambé!
posted by FatherDagon at 8:57 AM on November 28, 2010


The almond industry in California relies on these wholesale industrial bees to get the massively unnatural yields from their trees.
posted by bobloblaw at 9:12 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll be curious to see if the documentary mentions that honeybees are not a species native to the US. They are essentially a domesticated animal, which we use to fertilize our domesticated crops (almonds, cherries, etc).

This situation typically gets framed as an environmental disaster. But it's more along the lines of any other catastrophe which threatens a domesticated species - hoof and mouth, BSE, etc.
posted by ErikaB at 10:16 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


cjorgensen, when I was a wee lad in Garland, ME, Burt was a local character and we saw him often. I still see him at the grocery store in Dexter, on occasion. His ex-wife Roxanne Quimby took (most of) the profits and he still lives much as he did before they met and formed the company. She moved the headquarters to N.C. and I believe production is in Puerto Rico. She sold to Clorox in 2007.

She now spends her time (and money) collection land in Maine for conservation under the group Elliotsville Plantation Inc. What I've heard lately, though, is that she has been buying up a lot of property in downtown Portland, ME, yet she doesn't seem to be doing anything with it to actually make things better - just leaving boarded up buildings on our main thoroughfare. I'm not sure what her plans are..
posted by mbatch at 2:05 PM on November 28, 2010


Something something Futurama-holiday-special something something.
posted by stevil at 2:58 PM on November 29, 2010


@Mistersquid: I can't tell if the apiphobes in this thread are kidding, but agriculture DEPENDS upon bees for pollination. Without bees famine would prevail and we'd all be dead soon after.

But first, a glorious bee free utopia.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:21 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bees in Red Hook make honey with Red Dye No. 40!
posted by rtha at 8:19 PM on November 29, 2010


... I was just telling my husband about this thread and the weird bees I'd seen in downtown Burbank as we were walking through downtown Burbank today, and then BAM, literally while I was in the middle of a sentence about it, it happened again!

The little guy was wandering around on the sidewalk in a busy area. He would start to dance, and then somersault -- his back to the pavement and everything before getting back on his feet. Then he licked his front legs repeatedly, did this weird move where he shoved his butt high in the air, and then went back to pacing and licking his front legs. The sidewalk was absolutely dry so it seemed unlikely that he was licking any spilled soda up or something. :-/ As I said, I don't know if that's normal bee behavior but it struck both of us as confused and aimless.

We watched him for several minutes before leaving him there. :-/ He didn't try to dance after the first attempt, at least for as long as we were there.
posted by Nattie at 3:05 AM on December 4, 2010


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