Please Explain: Why Honeybees Are Disappearing

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bees are disappearing from their hives in mass numbers, and there’s no clear explanation of why. Many believe that bees are a barometer of the health of the planet, and colony collapse disorder is raising questions about pesticides, genetically modified crops, monocultures, and mechanization of beekeeping. Taggart Siegel, director, and Jon Betz, producer, of the documentary “Queen of the Sun” tell us why honeybees are important to human life and agriculture, and the factors that are most likely leading to colony collapse and honeybee death on a grand scale in the United States and in Europe. In addition, they explain how some devoted beekeepers are trying to save them. “Queen of the Sun” opens at Cinema Village June 10.


Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel

Comments [13]

Shana from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

My organization Brooklyn Broken Window is going to be giving away Bumblebee Habitat flower seeds for free at the Fort Greene Farmer's Market this Saturday at the GrowNYC table. If you can't make it out there or they run out before you get there, you can email us your address and we'll ship you some seeds free of charge. Email and just put the word seeds in the subject line.

Check out the blog for more information:

Jun. 10 2011 05:50 PM
PL Hayes

Sorry to hear the guests' bizarre response to the cell phone study. Here is a more rational one:

I've no idea if the rest of their Explanation was as flawed but it does seem odd and very inadvisable to ask some documentary film makers instead of some apiologists (is that the right term?) to do this Please Explain. Many essentially scientific issues have been the subject of distortion and misrepresentation etc. by motivated documentary makers.

Jun. 10 2011 02:22 PM
Michael from Brooklyn

I have a small garden in front of my house in Brooklyn and Lavender is the main flowering plant. We have a large number of bees of various sorts every year which is fascinating to the neighbors on the block. The bees will move out of my way when watering and weeding and no reports of stinging. Are they aware of our co-dependence in that I'm keeping the Lavender healthy and growing?

Jun. 10 2011 01:57 PM
Carol Davis from NJ

Many of these practices are just another example of animal exploitation..

Jun. 10 2011 01:57 PM
Carol Davis from NJ

Many of these practices are just another example of animal exploitation..

Jun. 10 2011 01:56 PM
Theresa from Brooklyn

I don't often make comments like this but I could not believe the guy who talked about the apiary underneath the cell tower "and they are fine." Isn't this like someone who smokes a cigarette, and says "See, it didn't kill me"?

Jun. 10 2011 01:48 PM
milna bo from RI & metro NYC

oops, me again -- in case you are interested in seeing more about the pollinator conservation programs, go to :

Jun. 10 2011 01:48 PM
David A from Brooklyn

Of the regular polygons that tile perfectly, hexagons have the highest area to circumference ratio. So they are the optimal shape for the bees to use.

Jun. 10 2011 01:46 PM
milna bo from RI and metro NYC

Is the 2008 Farm Bill for Pollinator Conservation in effect? It is so little publicized yet seems to hold so much promise for protecting all insect pollinators. I own property in RI and would love to put one or more of the programs into effect but have had to really scratch to get information. Comments?

Jun. 10 2011 01:45 PM
Deborah from NY

The euphemism is always "disappearing". The correct way to phrase this problem, and many others, is that human practices are destroying species, increasingly to the precipice of extinction. Usually these harmful practices make money for someone. Monsanto benefits greatly from genetic engineering (often poisonous in the long term) and Bayer is a big manufacturer of the nicotinoid insecticides.

Jun. 10 2011 01:40 PM
Patricia Pulliam from Fairfield ct

Hexagons are incredibly strong structures, it is the most efficient use of space.

Jun. 10 2011 01:37 PM
brian from brooklyn

Has anyone mentioned iridescent virus?

Jun. 10 2011 01:36 PM
MP from Brooklyn

Read "The Beekeeper's Lament" by Hannah Nordhaus:


Jun. 10 2011 09:04 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.