Review: Queen of the Sun

Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? (2010) is the newest docu-film from Emmy nominated documentary-filmmaker Taggart Siegel. Together with director Jon Betz, and whole host of bee-related fanatics, they tell the story of the global bee crisis, from Colony Collapse Disorder, to the Varroa mite, through to pesticides (and the recent ban on neonicotinoids).

The film starts off with a dancer covered in a swarm of bees; a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when a ‘queen’ is removed, and is thus followed by her swarm to a new location. Throughout, we meet bizarre, bohemian characters such as Yvon Achard, who states that anyone who does yoga, can in fact keep bees. He proceeds to stroke the swarming comb with his moustache. “The bees? They like it!”

By Migco (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Migco (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Siegel and Betz also address the more serious aspects of bee keeping, discussing the exploitative, commercial pollination industry in the USA and the reliance on intensive farming as a big threat toward biodiversity. They speak to molecular biologists, entomologists, authors and philosophers about the history of bees, the social attitude towards beekeeping, and the problems facing our agroecosystems today.

Throughout the film there are picturesque images of natural landscapes, as well as detailed macro-filming within the hive itself. The life of bees is truly exposed throughout this 83 minute a film, long enough for us to get an emotional attachment with the movement, and to consider why we might want to help them ourselves. The film closes with a list of things you can do to help keep honeybees for the sake of man kind:

1. Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard.

2. Weeds can be a good thing

3. Don’t use chemicals or pesticides to treat your lawn or garden

4. Buy local, raw honey

5. Bees are thirsty, put a small basin of fresh water outside your home.

6. Buy local, organic food from a farmer you know

7. Learn how to be a beekeeper with sustainable practices

8. Understand that honeybees aren’t out to get you.

9. Share solutions with others in your community.

10. Let Congress know what you think.

You can visit the film’s official website here and watch the trailer here.

Furthermore, if you would like to learn a bit more about how you can care for ecosystems and be sustainable, please read my post about how to be an amateur environmentalist.