Markus Imhoof's More Than Honey is a delightful study of the bee world

Bees, either flying in swarms or flitting about solo, reassure us that everything is going apace; even their buzzing is the sound of life. But in Markus Imhoof's marvelous bee-centric documentary, we see a forlorn beekeeper scraping their lifeless furry bodies from the surface of a honeycomb, and they drop to the ground like little raisins. Luckily, More Than Honey isn't just 91 minutes of dead bees. Instead, it's a delightful, informative and suitably contemplative study of the bee world and the bee-population crisis, though in the end it does offer enough dewdrops of hope to fill up a bluebell or two. Imhoof frames More Than Honey with portraits of two very different beekeepers. Fred Jaggi raises bees in Switzerland much as his father and grandfather did before him, tending his hives with a balance of matter-of-factness and sensitivity to his charges' character quirks. John Miller, a Florida-based mega-beekeeper, crisscrosses the country by truck, transporting his colonies to orchards and fields where they're needed for pollination duty. Miller's thriving business fills a crucial need, since farmers can no longer rely on random bees to show up and do the work they were made to do. Imhoof visits breeders who tinker with DNA to create the perfect queen. There may also be some hope in the form of the much-maligned killer, or African, bee, much hardier than its European counterpart. And, amazingly, scientists are finding new ways to study bee behavior via brain scans. What exactly goes on in the tiny mind of a bee? You'll have to see More Than Honey to find out.


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