World Premiere of Vanishing of the Bees

World Premiere of Vanishing of the Bees

I have my friend Simon Buxton to thank for introducing me to Maryam Henein, the talented Co-Director / Producer of Vanishing of the Bees, and I recently had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of her important new film.

Along with Co-Director / Producer, George Langworthy, Maryam has produced a superb, must-see film that captures the world of the honey bee and its relationship with man in compelling fashion. The film is provocative and unrelenting in its message: pesticides appear to be killing the honey bee and if the US Environmental Protection Agency and others do not intervene and stop the web of corruption that is allowing the problem to go unattended, then the results will be catastrophic – and not just for the honey bee.

Maryam Henein
© Vanishing of the Bees

Vanishing of the Bees is a wonderfully crafted film, engaging and lovely to watch. More importantly, it highlights what is truly at stake:

Bees represent a $16-billion industry on the edge of collapse and, tragically, the species is at the point of annihilation. Not only does this present catastrophic agricultural consequences, but an ancient and sacred tradition is now in jeopardy.

The film’s excellent website succinctly highlights the dilemma;

“Bees provide 1/3 of everything we eat and without them farming would be thrown into chaos. 80% of insect-pollinated plants rely on the honey bee to bring them to life. Without the honey bee crops of over 90 fruits and vegetables would be seriously diminished, if not completely lost…”

A still from Vanishing of the Bees
© Vanishing of the Bees

Despite the serious and rather distressing reality of Vanishing of the Bees, the premiere, which was held at London’s posh Mayfair Hotel, was a celebration of the directors’ success in getting the message out.

With the proud filmmakers, Maryam Henein and George Langworthy

A highlight of the evening was the speakers’ panel, held immediately after the premiere. Chaired by the film’s supporters, the co-operative, the panel of experts addressed a variety of spirited questions from the audience, which underscored the political complexity that the resolution of the dilemma will require, what with powerful corporations such as Bayer dictating the acceptance of their own products by the US government; products that appear to be killing the honey bees.

The speakers’ panel: director, Maryam Henein, addresses the audience

In addition to Alison Benjamin, co-author of the excellent book, ‘World Without Bees’, the panel included David Hackenberg, the former president of the American Beekeeping Federation and, arguably, the single most important voice in beekeeping today. It was Hackenberg who first spoke out on the demise of the bees and who has acted as the movement’s advocate ever since. Hackenberg is featured in the film and his insights on the night were memorable and special.

With David Hackenberg, the man who focused the world’s attention on the demise of the honey bee

The gala was also attended by its share of UK notables, including Oasis front man Liam Gallagher, who extended his support for the honey bee and mused: “I like honey. If it weren’t for honey, I’d have a rough voice”. 

Oasis’s Liam Gallagher meets a bee

I was also able to meet up with EastEnders star, Michelle Collins, who gave her support to the honey bee, and even the honey bee himself!

With EastEnders star, Michelle Collins, and ‘the honey bee’

The evening was a great success, but, make no mistake, the situation is dire. Awareness is half the battle, however, and films like Vanishing of the Bees are vital to the solution. What can you do to help?  Look for Vanishing of the Bees in a theatre near you. Support it. Watch it. It’s a great film. Then, take action.

Congratulations to all involved. Viva Maryam and George. Viva the honey bee.



  1. Gabriele 5 years ago

    This is a very late comment although I used to read your posts on the Arcadia site and now here on bees.
    I used to work for a company in LA (CA) which imported, exported and packed honey. I worked in the export part so I got to know the honeys which were sold, what documentation was required for each country and so on (and got to talk to beekeepers…I bought the Eva Crane book (I’m a closet librarian) and other books so I’d know what I thought I should know.
    I’d used honey before so it was a good fit for a job.
    One of the tests for honey going to various Arab states was a FMH test. (Japan required a test for honey concerned with antibiotics)
    In looking at the grocery store flyers for this week I saw one store (independent, probably Armenian) which was advertising a 3 L bottle of honey for under US$15. An extraordinary price.
    A friend lives near the store so I asked him to check it out (the store is 30 miles away for me).
    I told him to check for origin (No Chinese), to verify the size (the photo in the ad wasn’t very distinct and I couldn’t find the brand name online) and to check for the color…and explained that the color might show not the presence of more beneficial content but a much higher HMF due to overheating or long storage.
    I checked to make certain that I was correct in the ‘HMF’ designation so I looked it up. Yes, it was the right term and in looking at the other entries I came across an article about the high HMF in high fructose corn sweeteners which are often fed to bees to winter them over.
    I hate the corn sweeteners. I consider them to be the worst contribution to the modern diet that agribusiness has come up with. (I’ll shut up on that subject).
    But it was about the effect on the bees that made me thing: I wonder if Andrew knows about this?
    So here’s the link:
    As if Africanized bees and Varroa mites (from China) weren’t enough, now they’re feeding bees what could amount to poison.
    Because of the packing of honey there would usually be bees around the plant but I knew enough not to wear fragrance and was never worried about them. A swarm took up home in an old portable bbq in the patio area where I live (rent) I was glad to give them shelter as an fruit fly infestation had led to malathion spraying in some areas…but not ours.
    I ended up contacting the local beekeepers assn to find a beekeeper to give them a new home (landlady didn’t like them) and when I left the honey company I gave the assn all my books. I was sorry to see the hive go…he told me later he got two hives out of it and they were all very healthy, no varroa.

    • Author
      Andrew Gough 5 years ago

      Gabriele, thank you. Very interesting observations. And yes, I was aware. Its a very disturbing situation and a misleading set of events and circumstances. Thank you again for sharing.

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