More than Honey – Markus Imhoof (Official Trailer) from CIBER Science on Vimeo.

Searching for answers for the global bee declines director Markus Imhoof takes us on a trip around the world to meet people living with and off honeybees: almond growers in California, a Swiss mountain beekeeper, a German neuroscientist investigating bee brains, a pollen dealer in China, and bee researchers in Australia. We enter the fascinating world of a bee hive, encounter fighting queens and dancing workers face to face and experience their highly sophisticated swarm intelligence, where the individual constantly serves the requirements of the community.

This post is also available in: German

28 thoughts on “Trailer

    • Dear Kevin

      I love your ideas. We should consider producing a sequel out of these. Seriously, bees do communicate via chemicals. The queen can communicate “I am the boss” through the whole colony. Not all the details of how she does it are understood, yet. However, partially, she communicates by walking around in the hive, partially by the workers grooming her every day.

    • I am a new’ beekeeper of only 2 seoasn’s experience and I have 2 commercial hives. I have never liked opening the hives because it seems obvious that this is going to stress the colonony. I have just read about the Warre system and it just feels right’. I live in Devon (near Newton Abbot) and would welcome any advice about building a hive (I would find it easier it there was one to copy so would be happy to buy one ) and using this system. Is there anyone out there who can help? Anyone who would like to sell one? I don’t fully understand about what you do to get the bees to build without frames and how the honey is extractedMichael

  1. Wau I am really impressed by the footage of the flying bees, especially the mating in mid air. How did you manage to get such spectacular pictures? Are are they all digital bees?

    • Hi Everett
      Thanks for your compliment. “Every flea circus director has his secrets” Markus Imhoof answered when I asked him your question. But have a peak behind the curtain and read the section “Macro Filming” of this blog to find out more.

      • Do bees taste with their tarsi the way flies do? Perhaps there’s some MSG-like compound in the paint on the hive boxes? But I think this idea gets shot down since they’re only wasbhoarding on one face of the hive. Could the wasbhoarding behavior change the spectral profile of the hive’s reflectance so to make it more or less visible to returning foragers? But I didn’t think bees used visual cues to navigate back, so perhaps that’s not the case. Are there any unusual temperatures nearby? Could they be trying to change the nest/hive wall thickness? Could we experimentally reproduce the vibrations (e.g., with a vibrator?) and see if that can be used to stimulate this behavior in other colonies? Perhaps it’s pleasing?

        • I am recycling the wood from my old bieehves. I have a bunch of Top Bar Hives I designed myself several years ago and built many to that design, I am switching to Warre’s and recycling the perfectly good wood. They are made of mostly complete 1 12 pine lumber. I am cutting some top bar hives down to 12 inches in length and without and entrance though to facilitate placing on top of the warres. If I keep a few this way I can migrate several hives at once to Warre hives, and after migrating them, I can use that newly empty hive the bees came from to make more warre’s. Not exactly free, because I paid for the lumber a few years ago, but it is good to recycle what you can to not outlay more money.Nick, nice blog .I would really like to learn more about colony management in a Warre though. I mean things like doing splits, and combining weak hives, etc etc etc. Maybe you could point me in the right direction Thanks muchly.Scot

  2. Hello Lindsay
    Thank you very much for your post and your compliments. I think you are right. They more responsible bee keepers like you there are, the better for everyone. I hope your bees will arrive soon and wish you good luck with your start into this adventure, lots of joy with your ladies, and yummy honey.

    • I’d love some feedback on my query I need to put my coolny in a new brood box this spring. They were given to me by a friend and I want to change them over to a new hive. I’d love to change to TBH . Can I get some advice from anyone. I have standard national boxes built by my husband. The internal dimensions are slightly smaller than the national because he used thicker timber for insulation. What do you think would happen if I put a brood box under the coolny with Warre9 type top bars and no frames. Would it be a disaster. I hate opening the coolny and so do my bees they are very productive and very strong and I don’t want to lose them or mess them about.

  3. Hi Daniel
    Thanks for your interesting questions.
    Bees do have taste hairs on their tarsi. They can taste with their feet, and also with their antennae. So it is a good idea not to use toxic paint on bee hives. Different colours or patterns on neighbouring bee boxes help the bees to find their way back into their own box.
    Temperature does affect bee colonies. When the weather gets cold and windy they can produce propolis out of resin they collect and stick this substance into the cracks of their box and under the lid to keep the drafts out.
    Vibrations in bee hives can be used to communicate a general mood. When you arrive in front of a hive you can hear if the humming in there sounds content or angry. When you start working on a hive and the humming gets lower pitched and louder, you better stop what you are doing, cover up the hive and leave. In my experience this sound announces an attack. With our friendly bees you can come back half an hour to an hour later, check if the bees have calmed down and continue your work.

  4. Wonderful images! Congratulations!
    I am very curious, if Markus Imhoof presents a complete picture of the current situation in this movie.
    Just one small remark: To my knowledge, Albert Einstein never said anything about the extinction of bees and mankind dying 4 years later. I think, a physicist would never do such a thing, without presenting the underlying mechanism. Why 4 years?
    There are a lot of citations on the world wide web, but without any source. Does anyone know, where it comes from?
    I am not sure, if the pollution hypothesis is right. What the U.S.-beekeepers do to their bees, is completely insane, of course. However the situation in Europe is completely different, but the bees die too.
    It is always a good thing to replace all toxic chemicals in an agricultural setting, but I am convinced that the mortality rate will still remain high in Apis mellifera.
    In 2004 I published a theory on species extinction, which is based on the erosion of the protective caps of chromosome ends (=telomeres). It is best explained here:
    I know it sounds weird, but what we currently see in honey bees might be a natural phenomenon. A species becomes “unfit”, because of immunosenescence. It can not deal with the same parasites anymore, which were no problem 20 years ago.
    Here are the scientific articles, in case somebody is interested:

    I am looking forward to see this great movie at Austrian movie theaters.

  5. Looking forward to seeing this movie. Hopefully they will find a way to stop the bees from dying

    • Dear Willie and Eileen
      Thank you for your post.
      We are doing research to prepare our bees in Western Australia for the onslaught of parasites still at our borders. Let’s hope we are in time and can educate enough bee keepers to ensure pollination once the feral bees have died, as has happened in New Zealand, for example.
      Anyway, you can help by buying local honey and using as little poisons around your house as possible.

      All the best

  6. Please let me know when it’s coming to California. I can’t waite to see the hole movie.

    Thanks LP @ MHF

  7. Pingback: Save the Bees | fire in my life

  8. I am helping the Fresh Outlook Foundation by screening films for its annual Reel Change Film Festival, to be staged this October, in Kelowna BC Canada. Having seen your trailer, I would like to watch the film “More Than Honey” in anticipation of the next meeting of the Screening Committee. Can you provide a link or send a copy to be screened?
    Please check out our website and browse information on past versions of Reel Change, under the Events Link.

    Thank you
    Bob McCoubrey

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