Friday Video: Vanishing of the Bees

Bee keeper David Hackenberg talks about his continued bee losses and how to take action.

The Friday Video series is a regular feature of the Boiled Down Juice. If you’d like to suggest a video or submit an article, please contact us at the “Contact Us” link above. We’d love to hear from you. 

The 2009 release Vanishing of the Bees  is currently streaming on Netflix. Supported by many bee advocates and narrated by Ellen Page, this documentary is wonderful exploration of the hazards of monoculture farming and systemic pesticides that have become so prevalent in recent years. Examining the lives of bees as harbingers of environmental health, this in-depth exploration of colony collapse disorder explores the complex problems behind, and possible solutions to, this very serious problem directly effecting our food supply and overall health.

As noted throughout the film, commercial honeybee operations are responsible for pollinating crops that make the majority of the food on American tables. In addition to exploring the world of commercial keeping, the film also focuses on small-scale keepers who take a more holistic approach to their colonies.  Highlighting the distinct differences between these two groups, as well as their unified concerns about the decreasing bee populations, this film is ultimately hopeful, providing all viewers with the opportunity for action (however small).Including cross-national dialogue with other countries who have had similar problems and have been able bring back their bee populations, this film offers viable solutions, including advocating for the discontinued use of systemic pesticides.

In addition to all the powerful interviews with bee keepers and scientists, the film also highlights our long-standing cultural relationship with bees and highlights the thoughts of multiple writers, artists and thinkers including this beautiful quote from Leo Tolstoy:

“The closer we examine the honeybee, the more we realize the workings of a beehive encompass territories beyond our comprehension.”

By visiting the films webpage you can find numerous ways to take action including basic information about starting a garden.  You can also a purchase a shortened educational DVDs for schools and libraries. 

A bit shorter, more succinct trailer.


Have you seen the film? What’s happening in bee populations where you live? We’d love to hear your stories and feedback.