Directed by Swiss filmmaker Markus Imhoof and narrated by John Hurt, More Than Honey is a documentary that explores the importance to our eco-system and our very survival of the bee a small flying animal that sens office workers into a tizzy if a single one of them flies in through the window. But in recent years, this tiny but essential creature has come under threat, and should this trend continue the effects could be potentially devastating for us all.
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.
This epidemic, of colossal violence and breadth, is spreading from beehive to beehive all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings. No visible predators. In a few months, the bees have thus literally been vanishing in the US, where the latest estimates are that a total of 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared in 27 states. 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. Three thirds of the cultures that feed humanity depend on them. Apis mellifera (honey bee) appeared on Earth 60 million years before man and is as indispensible to the economy as it is to man's survival.
Should we incriminate 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 defenses.
Fifty years ago, Einstein had already insisted on the dependence relation that bound the pollen gatherers to mankind: "If bees were to disappear from the globe," he had predicted, "mankind would only have four years left to live."
More Than Honey will be released on UK DVD and Blu-ray on 21st October 2013 by Eureka! Entertainment at the RRP of £12.99 for the DVD and £14.99 for the Blu-ray.
The press release gives no indication of extra features, but on-line retailers are listing the following:
Interview with Director Markus Imhoof
Making of Featurette
Original Theatrical Trailer
UK Theatrical Trailer
Two versions of the film (one in the original language and one featuring a narration by John Hurt)
Booklet (featuring an interview with Markus Imhoof & the Friends of the Earth '20 things you need to know about bees')