NOVA: Bees--Tales from the Hive (54 minutes) (©2000) WGBH, Boston.
Teacher summary: Introduction shows worker bees defending the hive in a suicide act (as their stinger pulls out). Workers search for nectar; close-ups show them sucking nectar from flowers. Pollen collects on hairs and is then stored on pollen sacs on the legs. Back at the hive, the nectar is regurgitated, processed and within five days is packed into cells for storage as honey. Other cells store pollen. Brief illustration of the importance of pollination to our crops and fruit trees. Waggle dance is briefly shown but this is not detailed enough to actually teach the orientation. Bees are followed on foraging. Lifespan is mentioned. Distinction between sterile female workers, male drones, and fertile queens is made. One slight error is narration that only chemical control (scent) keeps the workers from reproducing; not so. Best footage I have seen of bee larval development and stages of metamorphosis. The brood cells for sterile workers and drones are shown, along with emergence from cells. Worker care for emerging drones is shown. Video switches to overcrowding and the need to swarm. The first queen to emerge from the enlarged queen cell, where the "grub"[not the preferred term, "grub" is generally for beetle larvae] has been fed royal jelly and becomes queen. The old queen has already used scents to stimulate many workers to swarm off with her. A new colony is formed in a hollow tree, using chemical marking. Video illustrates how the workers measure the new nest. Building of honeycomb is shown but wax secretion is not shown close-up. The geometry of the honeycomb is explained. Intruders include a mouse. The deaths-head hawk moth is shown invading the hive by mimicry of scent, avoiding raising the bee's alarm scent (the video avoids terms such as "pheromone," etc.). The moth also mimics the queen's sounds. Summer rains also pose a water danger to guard bees and allow a mouse to enter a nest. The bee-eater birds, unaffected by stinging, are shown in fabulous footage capturing bees in their beaks in mid-air. The European hornets emerge from their nest to attack and decimate a beehive. The bee's antennae and feet have senses of smell and taste. Focusing on the new hive left behind by a swarming queen, the new queen engages and stings younger sisters. A queen makes a mating flight and mates with distant drones and returns. In the case where the new queen swarms or is killed, virgin queens may "swarm" at high risk to the hive. Bees that are swarming are not in a defensive stinging mode and a swarm is shown alighting on trolley lines in Germany, stopping the urban human activities until the bees fly away. Bees are shown forming a new hive in a hollow tree stump. Some honey bees harvest woodland honey from aphids. Ants are shown raiding a nest. A bear tears apart the tree stump to harvest honey, despite heavily bothersome bee stings. Bees toss out the drones and survive winter. A beekeeper harvests some frames of honey. Video closes with a quote from Winnie the Pooh, describing the best part of honey being the moment before eating it: "sweet anticipation."
The close-up photography throughout the video is exceptional. David Ogden Stiers narrates with his signature voice that drops off at the end of each sentence, which can lead to some students drifting off as well. Some of the script is anthropomorphic but not problematic. Appropriate for grade levels from 5th through high school; use at university level will require additional technical supplemantary narration.
John Richard Schrock.