Global honey bee decline the topic of film at Cinecenta

Shortage of bees ultimately means higher prices for produce locally

Bees are an integral part of our food supply.

Bees are an integral part of our food supply.

Honey bees play an important role in helping us put food on our table.

One-third of the food we eat relies on bee pollination for growth. That makes the fact Vancouver Island loses 40 to 90 per cent of its bee population annually a serious concern, says Victoria-based beekeeper Dan Del Villano.

The decline of honey bees is a global problem which is affecting local beekeepers, agriculture and consumers, he said.

“If honeybees go extinct, food prices will soar.”

Each year he’s watched his bee population dwindle.

“The impacts are mostly on agriculture,” he said. “Farmers find it hard to get bees to pollinate their crops, so yields are lower and crops aren’t as healthy. Gardeners also feel the lack of pollination.”

Lower yields and unhealthier crops translates into higher food prices for the consumer, Del Villano said.

“There are a lot of theories about what is causing the collapse of bee populations. I believe it is a combination of the varroa mite, which weakens the hive, along with several diseases. Pesticides, pollutants and monoculture probably have a role as well. If a new disease arrives in northern California during the almond pollination in February, it will be throughout the U.S. by the end of the summer and all along the Canadian and Mexican borders,” he said.

The real crunch will come if the situation doesn’t turn around.

“It is expensive to keep replacing lost bees. Each hive is worth between $100 and $200,” Del Villano said. “Beekeepers are bearing a heavy cost (paying for) miticides and other medication. Managing the pests takes a huge amount of time.

“There is also the emotional cost. You get attached to your bees. Losing them is heartbreaking.”

For the consumer, the problem means food must be imported from other countries, which doesn’t support the concept of buying local – having the freshest food available and cutting down on transportation costs. Food will be more expensive.

To shed light on the bee problem, Land Trust Alliance British Columbia is hosting screenings this week of Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?

The film continues at the University of Victoria’s Cinecenta tonight (July 11) through Thursday at 7:15 and 9 p.m.

“Viewers will gain a better understanding of how important bees are to agriculture, the economy and our everyday lives,” said Alliance executive director Paul McNair. “Most people will not even realize the impact of bees. When we hear about it, it makes total sense, but we don’t often think about this kind of impact on a daily basis until it is brought to our attention. I think the film does an excellent job of capturing how bees work their way into your heart.”

Del Villano said, “I think the film balances the serious questions with the magic, the lure of bees and beekeeping. It’s uplifting. That’s a refreshing change.”

Tickets for the early shows are $7.75 each or $5.60 for UVic students, seniors, children 12-under and Cinecenta members. All tickets for the late show are $2.75.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Film synopsis: Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? is a profound, alternative look at the bee crisis and a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of honey bees and the mysterious world of the beehive.

This alarming and ultimately uplifting film weaves together an unusual and dramatic story of the heart-felt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eli, left, Brent, Lindsay and Ava Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilson)
West Shore families share experience in raising a child with autism

Two families reveal some parallels, but circumstances are different for everyone

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Hamels Fabrics & Quilting is set to open on April 6 in Sooke. The shop is located at 2044 Otter Point Road. (Mark Martins/Pixabay)
Fabric and quilting store opens doors in Sooke

Shop is filled with all kinds of ‘bright, bold and cheery’ designs

New hours went into effect at Saanich Parks and Public Works Yard for spring and summer seasons on April 6. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Spring, summer hours in effect at Saanich Public Works Yard

Residents reminded to practise social distancing, prepare to unload without staff help

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 investment into movie studio study at Camosun College

South Island NDP candidates promised funding to develop business plan during 2020 election

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read