Saturday, April 2, 2016

More Thank Honey, documentary

More than Honey is the name of the documentary I saw yesterday.  I have never seen so many bees (inside their hives -- the wonders of modern photography!) working so hard as  bees do.  The documentary, directed by Marcus Inhoff, who has a nice list of credits, covered a good part of the world but concentrated on the US and one beekeepr,  Fred Jaggi, the dear man in the photo with the  straggling beard, a third generation beekeeper in what appears to be Bavaria or the Austrian Alps. (He speaks German), nothing in the film identified the place more specifically.  Fred, like several other bee keepers who made an appearance in this film loves his bees and is deeply distressed when they become infested with bee mites or with diseases.

The film shows, as did one I saw about two years ago, the demise of the bee due to industrial and other kinds of pesticide spraying.  Twice in the film Einstein was quoted as saying "If the bees disappeared mankind woudl die in four years." The seccond time the quote was"forty years.? Whichever, the point is that at lesat a third of all human food depends upon pollenation by bees. I'm undercertain why I should expect Einstein to be an expert on the matter.

As in the film I saw before, there is a "migratory" bee keeper who has a couple of big semi-trailor trucks. He takes his bees to the thousands of acres of almond grovea in California's Central Valley every spring to pollinate. About 70% of the world's almond crop grows in that concentrated area and they have no native bees thanks to fungicidal spraying that is done regularly. Mr. Migragory comes across as a business man supplying a need for a price. He takes his bees elsewhere, as far as North Dakota. This is not natural for the bees, they are, in effect, little buzzing robots as far as this guy is concerned. He talks money.  period.

Other bee keepers in the film cares deeply about their bees and are disturbed by the  colony collapse and other problems, not only for financial reasons but for these incredible creatures. Most notable to me in the film were two things: in China there are large areas that grow fruit trees where there are no bees due to heavy use of chemicals for agricultures. So they gather pollen and actually hire human beings to take delicate paint brushes and dab pollen on the fruit tree blooms.  One can imagine how labor intensive that is.

Secondly one bee keeper noted that the so called "killer bees" that come from Africa and are "threatening" the US after having been transported to Brazil and after relentlessly migrating north, crossing hte border (without visa)  are causing all kinds of panic among Americans in the Southwetsern states. They are called "Killers" they are "black", they are "a menace", etc.  This bee keeper points out that in fact, they are not more dangerous than local American bees, their "work ethic" is just as commendable and the color of their bodies has nothing to do with their efficiency in pollination.  They are as communal and no more dangerous (apt to sting people to death) than any other bees.  Sounds like a certain kind of bigotry that has been all too rampant down around the border of late.

It was an interesting doumentary, well worth seeing.

No comments: