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More Than Honey: A Stunning Documentary on the Worldwide Demise of Bees

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Now showing in New York City: among the most dazzling feats of cinematography I have had the pleasure of viewing. However, despite the epic footage you will see in ‘More Than Honey‘ – the story is not a happy one. The documentary, directed and written by Markus Imhoof, takes viewers on a journey around the world, from Switzerland to California and China. We explore the honey industry from many perspectives on many scales. Just how much would the world’s food supply change if bees were to vanish completely? It’s a jarring question, considering that most of our fruits and vegetables depend on them, and that colony collapse disorder is crashing populations worldwide. The documentary takes a long time to weave its tale of the apiculture industry. The narrative is complex. I had reactions of astonishment and disgust, but also of inspiration and awe.

For me, the best part of this film is the work of cinematographer Jorg Jeshel. The closeup footage of the bees, shot from within the hive, is incredible. The audience spends so much time on their level – in the hive, flying, mating and feeding. It’s little short of extraordinary, and worth watching for the natural history footage alone (especially on the big screen!).

I enjoyed ‘More than Honey’ on many levels. If you’re in New York City this week, be sure to check it out.

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. CharlieinNeedham 9:15 pm 06/18/2013

    Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a disaster, as so many of our foods depend on pollination by bees.

    Honey bees around the world are dying at a rate similar to the depopulation of Europe in the fourteenth century due to the “Black Death”.

    Here is what the US Environmental Protection Agency says:

    “The prevailing theory among the EPA and others in the global scientific and regulatory community is that the declining health of honey bees in general is related to complex interactions among multiple stressors that these organisms encounter, including inadequate food sources (nutrition), diseases (bacteria, fungi and viruses), habitat loss and bee management practices, as well as pesticides. Relative to the potential role of pesticides in pollinator health declines, the science is still progressing as we seek to learn what regulatory changes, if any, may be effective.

    We are working aggressively to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide risks through regulatory, voluntary and research programs. Specifically we are:

    Accelerating the schedule for registration review of the neonicotinoid pesticides because of uncertainties about these pesticides and their potential effects on bees.

    Working collaboratively with beekeepers, growers, pesticide manufacturers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and states to apply technologies to reduce pesticide dust drift, to advance best management practices, to improve enforcement guidance and to explore enhancing pesticide labeling.

    Working collaboratively with our global regulatory partners to understand the evolving science for assessing risks to insect pollinators. We are working on a range of international efforts, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Pesticide Effects on Insect Pollinators working group, the International Commission on Plant-Pollinator Relationships, Colony Loss Network and with the European Food Safety Authority to develop appropriate tests for evaluating both exposure to and effects of pesticides on insect pollinators (particularly honey bees).”

    But is the EPA being too “scientific” waiting for even more data, when Europe is already going forward with the ban of widely used pesticides linked to Bee Colony Collapse?

    “Brussels, 24 May 2013

    Bee Health: EU-wide restrictions on Pesticide use to enter into force on 1 December
    A restriction on the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family was today adopted by the Commission. These pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) were identified as being harmful to Europe’s honeybee population. This restriction will enter into force as from 1 December 2013 and will be reviewed, at the latest, within two years. It targets pesticides used in the treatment of plants and cereals that are attractive to bees and pollinators.”

    Link to this
  2. 2. Eromanga 7:38 pm 06/19/2013

    Incredible footage in the trailer. Wow.

    Link to this

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