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Why are there honeybees in Blade Runner 2049?

Joe / Officer-K sets out to find Rick Deckard in what's left of Las Vegas. The city was abandoned after a radioactive bomb attack. When he walks through the city, he finds several beehives. A bee lands on his hand. He then walks past the hives into the hotel where Rick Deckard is hiding.

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The environment collapsed and there are no flowers anywhere, so real honeybees should not survive.

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If the honeybees were fake like other animals in the movies and books, why put several hives there?

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Just an educated guess:

You can see in Deckard's apartment what seems to be hydroponics systems containing plants. Thus, it's not too far fetched that he might have some type of gardens at various locations across the casino or the area.

Could he maintain enough flowers by himself in that dusty radioactive orange soup to sustain multiple hives? If you ask me; probably not. But it's a better explanation than none.

  • This seems like a well reasoned answer, and while it’s certainly too soon to get scenes or scripts as evidence, can you elaborate whether you see the bees else where, and why you think he wouldn’t be able to sustain multiple hives, for more info on what we expect from an answer, check out the How to Answer page, it’s got a load of details., – Edlothiad Nov 3 '17 at 6:39
  • If I'd have the movie at hand, I'd re-watch the scene in which Joe / Officer-K looks at the hydroponic domes and keep a lookout of any type of bee flying around. I do remember not seeing any type of insect life throughout the confrontation/fight scenes, but I also would not be surprised if in the one ~20 second shot of the hydroponics, a bee would be around. – Araxiel Nov 3 '17 at 7:28
  • Why I suggested why couldn't not maintain it: He lives by himself in a radioactive dusty ghost town; maintaining multiple gardens seems like a lot of work and thought I'm no beekeper, I reckon that amount of bees would require a lot of flowers that all would need to be tended. That said; a lot of it could be automated and plants seem to not mind the radioactivity and even thrive in IRL Chernobyl. He already must have some type of source of water; after-all the sewers and infrastructure was build to support a large city and he is just one person. On a second thought it seems more plausible – Araxiel Nov 3 '17 at 7:39
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    The director confirmed somewhere that the bees were getting food from the big hanging objects by the hives - it might have been this video (I can't play it right now to confirm): youtube.com/watch?v=S75OKnM_BKU - so I don't think Deckard has enough gardens to sustain all those bees, he's probably just synthesizing the food for them somehow, but it does probably explain the flower that was on Rachel's grave. – delinear Nov 3 '17 at 13:51
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As K begins his descent into Korean Las Vegas, he runs a thermal scan for signs of life in the radioactive nightmare. His screen shows several dots of heat that he interprets as life forms.

As paranoid and solitary seeking as Deckard is, he might have put the beehives there to fool people into thinking that the bees are the thermal heat signatures from the thermal scan. Kind of like a false flag. If it works, the intruders walk away and Deckard keeps his privacy and solitude. Why K stuck his hand into the hives is beyond me.

  • Would bees show up on a thermal scan? – Bellatrix Feb 22 '18 at 5:59
  • @Bellatrix Not individual bees, but beehives. Bees generate heat through movement, and Honeybees keep their hives around 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Some bees actually use their heat generation offensively, swarming larger wasps and vibrating at higher temperatures that kill the wasp. – Mwr247 Sep 14 '18 at 18:04
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Like in the original Blade Runner, not everything can be explained (Listen to the Bonus Material of the "Ultimate Collector's Edition". This is what Ridley Scott says.) But it is clear that animals play an important part as symbols (like the Unicorn, the owl, the snake etc.) in th world of Blade Runner.

It might be another hint that Deckard is a replicant. As the replicant Officer K retires in the beginning of the movie is obviously breeding garlic (in the german Version it was a smell of garlic from the cooking pot) it might be a sign that Deckard is breeding bees. Also the Motto of the Tyrell Corporation is "More human than human". One possible consequence is replicants behaving more human than human since they are breeding something real. Of course this is only one possible interpretation out of many. But this is what makes Blade Runner such a great movie. I get's you thinking.

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