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DVD Review

DVD cover

More Than Honey


Narrated by: John Hurt
Distributor: Eureka!
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: E
Release Date: 21 October 2013

Over the past fifteen years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world. The causes of this disaster haven't yet been established. Depending on the regions of the world concerned, between 50% and 90% of the bees have disappeared...

No, this isn't science fiction. More than Honey is a documentary that interviews various people, from all over the globe, that have come to rely on the bee population for their income. From a lone Swiss bee keeper, who still farms honey the old fashioned way, to the North American travelling bee keeper, who drives his trucks of bees across the USA to the area they are needed in order to pollinate local produce, this documentary gives us a look at the lives of bees as well as the impending doom that threatens mankind if something isn't done to halt their rapid decline.

Fifty years ago, Einstein had already seen a problem and had pointed out how dependant mankind's food source was on the bee population: "If bees were to disappear from the globe," he had predicted, "mankind would only have four years left to live."

In Germany, according to the national beekeepers association, one fourth of the colonies have been decimated, with losses reaching up to 80% in some farms. The same phenomenon has been observed in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Poland and England, where the syndrome has been baptized "the Mary Celeste Phenomenon", after the name of the ship whose crew had vanished in 1872.

Scientists have found a name for the phenomenon that matches its scale: "colony collapse disorder". They have good reason to be worried: 80% of plant species need bees to be pollinated. Without them, no pollinization, hence practically no fruits or vegetables.

But what is at the heart of the dwindling bee population? Pesticides and the medication used to combat them? Parasites such as varroa mites? New viruses? Travelling stress? The multiplication of electromagnetic waves disturbing the magnetite nanoparticles found in the bees' abdomen? It seems that it is rather a combination of all these agents that has been destroying the bees' immune defences.

By travelling all over the world we are introduced to a number of interesting characters, from the Swiss bee keeper who has taken over his father's job - keeping bees the traditional way; a woman who creates queen bees for shipment all over the world; an American man who runs a company of travelling bees - moving his hives to different areas to help pollinate farmers plants; and the Chinese workers whose job it is to act as human bees, pollinating flowers.

Extras include Director Interview (10 min); UK Trailer (2 min, 11 sec); Making of... (two featurettes that show the filming of the bee sequences); 8 Deleted Scenes (all of which were impressive and it's a shame weren't included in the finished movie); and See Things Differently (1 min, 10 sec ad for Friends of the Earth).

This is an interesting documentary, made all the more impressive by the incredible footage of the bees used to illustrate their struggle.


Darren Rea

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