34 Minute Version with Study Guide
A Film By Maryam Henein and George Langworthy
Downloadable Classroom Guide
"Highly recommended. Provocative...smartly documents the unfolding of this disturbing phenomenon, the human costs, the frightening environmental and agricultural repercussions, and the scientific community's investigation into what is now known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)."
- Educational Media Reviews Onilne
"Recommended. The film makes its points well as it discusses the value of bees, how they are raised, and the problems of monocultures and pesticide buildups in the soil and plant material."
- Science Books and Films (AAAS)
"Recommended. This fascinating program documents the spread of 'Colony Collapse Disorder' (CCD) and examines studies and research done by U.S., European, and Asian scientists. Excellent close-up photographs and computer animation demonstrate the plight of the bees and the effect on the honey, fruit, and vegetable markets."
"Recommended. This enlightening documentary looks at the disappearance of the honeybee, whose significance goes far beyond producing wax and honey.... Footage shot throughout the U.S. - as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australia - makes it clear that this is a worldwide phenomenon. Vanishing of the Bees ends on an optimistic note, citing helpful steps that consumers can take."
- Video Librarian
"This informative film will serve as an excellent springboard for classroom discussions. The program is very informative about CCD and the business of beekeeping in general."
- School Library Journal
“The most important documentary film since An Inconvenient Truth. The message is crucial: the bees are a pivotal part of our food chain. No bees, no pollination, no food.”
-Karen Krizanovich, Filmstar
“A ‘bees knees’ of a film. Powerfully argued and very timely.”
-Richard Brooks, Sunday London Times
“Alarming enough to convince you that this is an issue that needs action at the highest level.”
-Henry Fitzherbert, The Daily Express
"Fascinating subject expertly covered."
International Wildlife Film Festival
San Francisco Documentary Film Festival
Sedona Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in DC
Environmental Film Festival Melbourne
One World Film Festival
Also Available: Feature Length version
(NOTE: This version is for Grades 5-12 only
and includes downloadable classroom guide below)
Narrated by Oscar Nominee Ellen Page
Honeybees, vital to sustaining our food supply, are mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. This alarming phenomenon, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is a serious crisis for commercial beekeepers, whose operations are essential to pollinating hundreds of fruit and vegetable crops worth about $18 billion a year in the US alone.
For three years, Vanishing of the Bees investigated the honeybee crisis across the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. Through interviews with scientists and beekeeprs around the world, along with animation and stunning cinematography, the film chronicles the rise of CCD and the intensive efforts to find the cause of the disorder and preserve the honeybee population.
A central focus of the film is the plight of beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their honeybees healthy. Hackenberg was the first to report the massive and unexplained disappearance of honeybees in the U.S. in 2006. We witness the various challenges the two face as they struggle to fulfill pollination contracts, plead their case on Capitol Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean to meet with other beekeepers.
While a specific cause eludes scientists after years of research, many believe Colony Collapse Disorder may be rooted broadly in an industrialized food system that relies heavily upon pesticides and mono crops.
Among the experts featured in the film are: Entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp (Penn State University), Apiculturist Dr. Marla Spivak (University of Minnesota), organic beekeepers Gunther Hauk and Dee Lusby, and food author Michael Pollan.
DOWNLOAD CLASSROOM GUIDE FOR GRADES 5-12 (PDF)
This 13 page guide offers discussion questions, activity ideas, concept standards, and resources. It is geared for students in Grades 6-10 and is useful in science, environmental science, agricultural education, or social science classes.