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Vanishing of the Bees

152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Honeybees, a keystone species vital to sustaining our ecosystem, are mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries, almonds and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that provide one out of every three bites of food on our tables.

Narrated by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, "Vanishing of the Bees" follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capitol Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.

Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting opinions abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

Following the story for three years, directors George Langworthy and Maryam Henein chronicle the innermost thoughts and feelings of beekeepers and scientists as they fight to preserve the honeybee and make it through another day. Combining interviews from around the world, animation, 50's educational films and breathtaking nature cinematography, George and Maryam present not just a story about Colony Collapse Disorder, but a platform full of solutions, encouraging audiences to be the change they want to see in the world.

Special features include: "Honeybee Rescue" - how to remove a bee colony from your property without harming the bees and "Beekeeping in France" - which covers the history of beekeeping in France and the origin of the modern beehive, as well as an animated short film on the disappearance of honeybees by the film's animator, Antanas Skukas, entitled Colony Collapse Disorder (An Unfinished Story).

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: True Mind
  • DVD Release Date: June 14, 2011
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004SO26RE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,553 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. L LaRegina on September 4, 2011
Format: DVD
As I write this in September 2011 and summer is coming to a close, the 2009 documentary VANISHNG OF THE BEES makes me realize I have not seen many bees throughout the season. Come to think of it, the past few summers I've encountered relatively few bees.

The way VANISHING OF THE BEES explains the situation, bees are not avoiding just me. What the film deems Colony Collapse Disorder results in beekeepers discovering their honeybees literally disappearing. VANISHING OF THE BEES reminds us honeybees pollinate enough crops to be responsible for "one out of every three bites of food on our tables," so this is not just nature taking its course.

So, why are the bees buzzing off? Because agribusiness, pushing pesticides and farming monocultures, fails to heed the Chiffon warning, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature." In the name of cutting costs, the food industry unwittingly undermines itself by killing off irreplaceable honeybees.

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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Hagbard Celine on June 2, 2011
Format: DVD
If you care at all about the food you eat, you know that we need bees to produce as much as 1/3 of your daily diet. Bees are disappearing mysteriously and rapidly. "Vanishing of the Bees" investigates and supplies some of the answers that we desperately need to reform the way agriculture and our food supply is going. Highly recommended. It is beautifully shot too!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By DVD Verdict on July 17, 2011
Format: DVD
Judge Clark Douglas, DVD Verdict-- In late 2006, bees in North America started disappearing. This startling new trend (dubbed by scientists as Colony Collapse Disorder) generated a wide variety of conspiracy theories about the root cause of the disappearances--perhaps cell phones were to blame, or maybe it had something to do with the forthcoming apocalypse--but scientists were unable to effectively pin down the culprit responsible. The 2009 documentary Vanishing of the Bees isn't any more successful in terms of finding the official cause, but it does provide a reasonably compelling suggestion and mostly manages to avoid the absurd hyperbole that has surrounded the Great American Bee Debate.

In fact, so much of Vanishing of the Bees is so reasonable that it's a little startling when the film tosses us a fleeting curveball (as it does every 10-15 minutes).

Given some of the doomsday conversation that has surrounded this topic, Vanishing of the Bees does an admirable job of staying away from the kind of sensationalist rhetoric that has fueled so many magazine articles on the subject (which usually begin by quoting Albert Einstein and end by proclaiming that we'll all be dead soon if we don't figure this out by yesterday). Perhaps recognizing that it's taking enough license with its slightly-overconfident pesticide proclamations, the documentary otherwise chooses to focus on the effects CCD has on beekeepers and crops.

The DVD transfer is sturdy if unremarkable, faring the best when it focuses on its striking collection of farmland imagery. There are quite a few talking heads, along with some animated slides that look kind of crummy (along those lines, the pieces of archival footage employed look rougher than they ought to, also).
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By MinXo on June 13, 2011
Format: DVD
Small creatures are giving us a BIG warning.

You may have heard about the honeybee "issue" across the news media over the last few years and not have given it too much thought. You maybe unknowingly helping in destroying food as we know it by the choices you make at the supermarket.

Vanishing of the Bees shows you this global problem in a wonderfully directed, shot and paced film, that I recommend everyone watch right away! The film shows all the heart, dedication and passion of the beekeepers that are on the front line of this issue. You will care about what is going on, what needs to be done and how you and your family can help. What more can you ask for in a documentary?

Yet another reason to change our food system.

If films like Food, Inc., Earthlings and Forks Over Knives or books like John Robbins: The Food Revolution, Micheal Pollens: In Defense of Food and Thomas Campbells: The China Study have not changed the way you and your family consume the food you eat 3 times a day then Vanishing of the Bees maybee your opportunity we need for change.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By John Richard Schrock on June 18, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Vanishing of the Bees" by Hive Mentality Films, 87 min., some parts narrated by Helen Page; © 2010.

This is a "soft" documentary that could be good if edited down to 60 minutes to remove the non-science propaganda. The highlight of the film is the way it personally follows the effect of colony collapse disorder (CCD) on the lives of two passionate beekeepers, David Hackenberg and David Mendes. I have always found beekeepers to be unique gentleman farmers and they certainly represent their industry well. However, their story line is broken up too many times. The asides to bonafide researchers to explain the valid science are appropriate. The equal coverage of fringe and non-science political groups may add to the political setting but heavily detracts from this as a valid video for classroom use. Fortunately, its length will require a teacher to show it in chunks and this allows the opportunity to skip the New Age-like portions.

The beginning is weak, using an old black-and-white teaching film (you have seen this mocked on "The Simpsons") and an uneven montage of commentators and science explainers. Teachers can start the video with Hackenberg's 2006 testimony on his discovery of CCD; the "60 Minutes" segment is excerpted, some animation describes bee foraging, and CCD syndrome and the mysterious disappearance of the bees are well-presented. Today, bee-keepers cannot make a living just on honey and this shows excellent footage of how the hives are loaded onto semi-trailers and driven across country from Florida to the almond orchards of California that desperately must have bees. David Mendes enters at this point to note that CCD is not just a bee problem but an indicator of environmental degradation.
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