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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Documentary asks: Why are bees buzzing off?

    Much of the world’s economy depends on bees. This can be seen on modern supermarket shelves and in displays of fresh, canned and preserved fruits, grains and vegetables. But these are the most obvious results of their labor. Many nonfood items are also derived from plants that need bees to do their work.

    So what would happen if there were no more bees around?

    The disappearance of bees is the subject of director Taggart Siegel’s “”Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”” The Loft Cinema will be screening the documentary tonight at 7:30 as part of its “”One Hit Wonders”” series.

    Bee populations around the world have been decreasing steadily in the past 40 years due to various factors: loss of habitat, pesticide use and commercial beekeepers going out of business. But in October 2006, beekeepers and entomologists in North America began reporting a significant drop in the number of their colonies with losses as high as 90 percent.

    This event was called “”colony collapse disorder.”” The main sign of this phenomenon is that the hive queen is still alive but most, if not all, of the adult bees have disappeared. There are no dead bees left behind and honey and immature bees are often still present. It’s an apiary murder mystery.

    “”Queen of the Sun”” not only examines the 2006 colony collapse disorder, but it also looks at the co-dependent relationship humans and bees have cultivated over the millennia. The documentary focuses on Gunther Hauk, a beekeeper and farmer who created the world’s first bee sanctuary in Floyd, Va., in response to colony collapse disorder.

    Last year, The New York Times reported that entomologists and military researchers in Montana and Maryland believed they had found a major cause for the ongoing disappearance of bees: a fungus and virus may be infecting them together. Even if the researchers findings prove to be conclusive, “”Queen of the Sun”” offers an alternative look at why bees are dying and what can be done to resolve the mystery.

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