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‘Queen of the Sun” tells bees’ tragic story

By Dave Buchanan

If you eat, you should see "Queen of the Sun."

The story of the crisis killing American honey bees isn't new to most of us. But answers to what's causing Colony Collapse Disorder, where worker bees simply disappear in mass numbers from their hives, has no clear or generally acceptable explanation.

According to Wikipedia, such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, The term colony collapse disorder was first applied in 2006 when a drastic rise in disappearances was seen in Western honey bee colonies in North America.

Similar disappearances have been noted in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. Recently Ireland reported some hives suffering 50-percent losses.

Theories ranges from mites and insect diseases to climate change, malnutrition, pesticides, genetically modified crops and even cell-phone radiation (I didn’t even know they made cell phones that small).

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion each year in added crop value and nearly one mouthful in three in your diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination.

In an area such as this that still has strong agricultural ties – economically and socially –it’s important to know what’s happening to our honey bees.

The movie “Queen of the Sun” takes a interesting and eye-opening look at the bee crisis. Director Taggart Siegel, who searched the world for passionate beekeepers, takes as inspiration a quote from Albert Einstein, who said, “If bees disappear from the Earth, then man will have only four years to live.”

In the movie, Siegel juxtaposes the disappearance of bees with the mysterious world of the beehive, weaving a story around beekeepers, scientists and philosophers.

A release from the movie says Queen of the Sun “reveals both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.”

“Queen of the Sun” is being shown this week at the Paradise Theater in Paonia. Showings are set for 6:30 p.m. tonight and Thursday; 8:15 Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Some area beekeepers will be hosting a Q&A session after Sunday’s movie.

(Special thanks to Jim Brett of Paonia, coordinator for the Western Slope chapter of Slow Food, for the notice.)

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