Hive Alive

Series 1 - Episode 1



A bee can fly up to 50,000 miles to make a single pound of honey – that’s twice around the planet, says broadcaster and beekeeper Martha Kearney.

In this charming two-part documentary Kearney (who recently had her own BBC4 documentary, The Wonder of Bees) and Chris Packham reveal the secrets of a bee hive in a sunny Somerset garden.

Bees are of course mini-marvels of industriousness, with a highly complex ability to navigate their way to the best, most productive flowers. Scientists can even track the flight path of labelled and wired-up bees using military radar.

There’s some lovely photography of bees in slow motion (they keep aloft with 230 wing-beats a second) and some “Hammer Horror” clips of furious bees staring into the lens of a special camera probe that Packham lowers into a bee-rich tree cavity.


Part one of two. Naturalist and Springwatch presenter Chris Packham and journalist and beekeeping enthusiast Martha Kearney are joined by Professor Adam Hart to explore the remarkable secrets of the lives and habits of bees. Midsummer is a critical time for the insects as they must gather enough food for the winter, so a specially designed hive equipped with an array of cutting-edge technology is used to monitor them and find out how they do it. The team also puts the latest scientific findings about bees to the test.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Chris Packham
Presenter Martha Kearney
Contributor Adam Hart
Executive Producer Paul Wooding
Series Producer Stephen Moss