Over the past 15 years, bee colonies have been decimated throughout the world. Some 1.5 million hives have disappeared in 27 states in America, while in Germany one fourth of the colonies have been lost. The situation is graver in China, where the complete lack of bees in many parts of the continent has meant plants must be pollinated manually by thousands of migrant workers. But what is the cause of this devastating phenomenon – parasites, new viruses or the stress brought on by intensive commercial farming practices?
With 80% of plant species needing bees to be pollinated, the fate of the honeybee is vital to man’s survival. This riveting documentary, which features some awe-inspiring photography (including the use of a remote controlled helicopter to film bee swarms in flight), journeys across the US, China and Europe, comparing differing methods of beekeeping – including small-scale rural farming, intensive commercial husbandry and urban organic enterprises – before ending up in Australia, where the country’s strict quarantine controls could be the bee’s only salvation.
Its provocative and emotional stuff – for instance, did you know that most commercially produced bees can no longer live without drugs? – compulsory viewing, and will force you to question where your next pot of honey is coming from.
Available on DVD in the UK from 11 November 2013