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31 August to 2nd Septembre 2018 in Doorn, The Netherlands: The international Conference 'Learning from the Bees', with Thomas Seeley, Peter Neumann, Johannes Wirz and many many more. All information: 

 "Queen of the sun", the documentary of Taggart Siegel is still available on DVD. The documentary shows us ways of handling bees without doing them wrong.
Taggart Siegel also made another price-winning documentary:  "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" and the latest is 'SEED'. The trailer gives an impression:  

 10 things you can do to help the bees


Meet Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz: an interview by Daphne Bunskoek (DB) at the IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) with Taggart Siegel (TS), director, and Jon Betz (JB), the producer of the documentary "Queen of the Sun" winter 2010 in Amsterdam:

DB: What are the bees telling us?

TS: The bees are going to leave this world if we don't wake up. What we do to them ...:

  • We spray them with pesticides
  • We track them around the world or around the country
  • We feed them corn syrup
  • ....

And they are so helpful to us. And it's so amazing how much abuse we give them and they still don't really complain, but they are dying out.

DB: How did you find out about the subject?

TS: I read a quote from Einstein, it says: "When the bees dye out, man has four years to live". He didn't really say it, but it's quoted everywhere.

DB: You filmed what role bees play in the world and bees are connected to everything and I was amazed how much connected they are ... Were you suprised finding it all out?

JB: It's really surprising. The deeper you dug into the bee crisis, just the parallels between bees and us on so many levels. So many issues are becoming clear: our food system, the way we are eating, what we are eating, all of those things have repercussions to the bees. The way we grow food in fast monocultures ...that's why we have to spray and that's one of the problems for the bees, that's why we can't put them in, but they live from the flowers

Clip: "600000 acres monoculture of almond trees. The problem: every blossom needs a bee to visit, but if there is nothing else in the valley there is nothing to eat for the bees for the 50 weeks that the almonds doesn't bloom. But essentially there are no bees around. Two or Three years ago there were not enough bees in America to pollinate the whole crop so they get permission to import the bees from Australia. But Australian bees harbor some viruses that are unfamiliar to American bees. Israeli-Q-paralysis virus is one of them. We brought them in to pollinate the almonds. The place where all the bees of America come together and mix up. We create this big bee-bordello 

DB: I’m amazed that the bees are kept as a sort of contractworkers, traveling the whole world just to be there for 3 weeks, do their work and go away again. It shows how manipulative we are as human beings.

TS: And they not only go to the almond fields, but they go to the blueberry fields and they go to the apple fields and they don’t stop. They wore themselves up . They wear themselves up until they die. And they feed themselves with monocultures, so one type of plant, which is very harmful to them. They like a diversity of herbs and plants  and flowers and nectar. But instead they get almonds, then blueberries and then they are getting apples and that’s very, very toxic to their system.

DB: Your film shows we destroy nature and restructure it again. And there is one more clip in which the queen is inseminated.

Clip: “ So they are susceptible to all kind of illnesses. It’s the same with the cows. The cow, instead of living 20 years, has a life-expectancy to 3 or 4 years, not even one guarantee that it calves. There are parallels with pigs and chickens. Sometime they literally have to be picked up so they can stand and eat. That’s the direction we are going in. The biology of the bee is set up to avoid inbreeding at all costs; when they are inbred they become weaker. The artificial insemination of queen-bees that are locked up … sperm is squeezed out of drones and the queen is artificial inseminated


DB: Artificial Insemination of bees? I didn’t know that … Ewhen you found out, what kind of feelings you had?

TS: It’s rape. It’s one of the most striking things … that bees are not allowed to do it themselves I mean. The most beautiful thing is the queen flying up to 600 feet and mating with about 15 drones / males and finding the best male to mate with the queen. That’s nature at its greatest. But instead men is taking it … and trying to pick and choose what the strongest male is and what the strongest queen is and that’s the way we are breeding the biology out of the bees.

DB: Made this film got you to love the bees?

JB: Absolutely … making this film … I really felt in love with the bees … it was a kind of discovery of bees … and it’s just the wonder of the beehive …  how they function as a community together. We think of them as insects, but there is such an incredible intelligence in the beehive. They make honey … how do they make it? They fan out exactly up to 17% humidity … how do they know that? … amazing.

DB: And you are a beekeeper now?

TS: I am … yeah

DB: Making this film ended up being a beekeeper?

TS: Finally … I’m a beekeeper for the last two years and finally had a swarm … we got a swarm and my daughter, she was 5 becoming 6 soon, is helping me to become a beekeeper. She will not let me down there without her wanting to help dad

DB: What things about beekeeping learns she to you?

TS: Well, you have to … go to the bees, especially if you are not wearing anythingfor protection … then you have to be with the bees. You have to be really calm. If I’m in a ad mood I must not go to the bees … period. And they are really actually being around you … They don’t mind

DB: So you don’t get stung when you’re calm and then just walking through the bees?

TS: You can get stung when the weather changes and a storm is coming … but normally bees are not out to sting you. We are stung by wasps, by yellow jackets and blame it the bee. Yellow jackets are carnivores, they don’t feed with the nectar of the plant. So they like if you are having a picnic. They like to come around and get your salami.

DB: It sounds like a lovestory and many people in the film have a strong heart for the bees

Clip: Grenoble-France, Yvon Achard, beehistorian, 70 years old;
”This queen is so marvelous, I am fully in love with this queen. In all the stories of the bees, as bees are in the world since 150 million years, the beginning of meeting human beings and bees is about 10.000 years ago and a cooporation slowly begins … and from hunter of honey human being slowly begin beekeeping. Beekeepers, they are chosen by bees. You can brush the bees by moustache (and brushes with his moustache dozens of bees) and they like … they like

DB: Did you try? … Oh no …

TS: He took his queen bee for a walk literally on his forearm

DB: What more can we do if we want to help?

TS: Everybody ca plant something in his backyard like herbs, lavenders, etc. Let the herbs come to flower and the bees will show up. It is the most nutricious food for them. So have diversity in the backyard … but not only for the bees, but also for the butterflies and the native bees and humming birds if you have them. Do you have humming birds here?

DB: A director’s quote?

TS: Their Coloby Collapse Disorder is the consequence for all that we have done to the bees. It’s a big pay-back-time. We always look for a kind of disease, a kind of virus or something like bad. But it is not that alone …

Clip: Gunther Haug – biodynamic beekeeper

“CCD is a bill we are getting for all we have done to the bees. It is just a name given to the phenomenon, that a hive is found empty. Food is there, honey is there, but the bees are gone. The first thing we look for is …who is the cause for that? Who is responsible? We are not going to solve the problem by killing virus or bacteria or fungi, because the problem is an inner one. Personally I am grateful for the crisis. The crisis will give us the possibility to learn something if we are willing.


If the heart opens enough …

Are the honeybees staying with us ?