In nature, female bees; feral queen bees can live for up to five years, summer workers about 6 weeks. Male drones live for only a few weeks or months, are expelled from the hive before the autumn frost. Large commercial bee farms routinely kill the queen bee after only a few months by pinching off her head, and then replace her with a younger, artificially raised queen. In the film, it is suggested that artificial queen breeding is one of the primary factors causing the demise of the colonies.
Organic beekeepers say that artificial insemination is also to blame. The queen is “knocked out and knocked up.” She is sedated with carbon dioxide and inseminated with semen from male drones, selected for traits, which narrows the gene pool.
The other problem is bee nutrition—or the lack thereof—in the commercial bee industry. Honey, which the bees make from natural rich plant nectar, is taken away from the hives and replaced with HIGH FRUCTOSE sugar syrup, which is completely lacking in nutrition.
All of these practices stress the honeybees’ immune system. Weakened colonies are further stressed by being shipped across country or overseas, multiple times, to pollinate commercial crops—a practice which is unsustainable but made necessary due to dwindling local bee populations.
Honeybee colonies are further damaged when they live near areas sprayed with pesticides and planted with GM crops, like Monsanto corn and soy. There is a great deal of evidence that the newer, systemic insecticides are fueling a virtual bee holocaust.