The Vanishing of the Bees

Preserving fruit into jars for the season has come to an end and I left the kitchen to see the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees. To be honest I didn't expect much. I read the news, I know the story line; the bees are dieing, it's called Colony Collapse Disorder and there are different theories on the why. The movie told a bigger story though and damn if it didn't get to me; laughter, tears. I left knowing more than when I arrived.

I learned California almond growers upon facing a deficit of bee colonies in recent years imported colonies from Australia. There was footage of the bees on crates loaded by forklift into the belly of a jet. All those little bee suitcases. Kidding. Only about the suitcases. They really imported bees.

Then I learned honey from China is honey plus. It's some part honey with additional ingredients and sold as honey. There were oil barrels of the stuff; honey with lactose, honey with high fructose corn syrup. Which naturally makes it tough for US beekeepers to get a straight price for straight honey. It was another dilemma.

The Vanishing of the Bees is filled with dilemma, filled with drama. There were french beekeepers taking up their arms in the streets of Paris, an organic beekeeper fleeing a gmo corn monoculture to a friendlier farm in Vermont. There was a bonfire of bee boxes after a massive colony collapse, there was a hearing in Washington, DC; corporations not taking responsibility. There were genetically modified seeds impregnated with pesticides.

And there was heart. The big beekeepers in the documentary, competitors, were also friends. When their colonies began collapsing they began talking every day, became each others support. One admitted to talking to his bees. They went to France. They talked to beekeepers there. Their caring beyond business, beyond profits was apparent. As was their fear. Without bees we're all without more than another industry that can't survive.

In came the small organic beekeepers though. They weren't a complete solution but part of one. As were the people planting gardens to attract bees, people buying organic, people choosing products without gmo ingredients. There were as many pieces to the solution of the vanishing of the bees as there were to the problem.

It's a good film. Watch it if you can.