Honey Bees have faced increasingly unprecedented die-offs in recent years. Although climate change, parasites, pesticides and industrial agriculture are believed to be part of the problem, more research is needed to better understand threats facing bees. A world without bees would be devastating for our food system. Without the honey bees, we risk an uncertain future.
Because honey bees are the only pollinators that can be moved to different locations, they are considered the world’s most important pollinators. According to a White House Fact sheet, honey bees are responsible for the pollination of 87 of the world’s leading 115 crops, contributing to 35% of global food production.
Honey bees are responsible for contributing more than 15 BILLION dollars each year to the U.S. economy through their vital role in keeping fruits, vegetables, and nuts available for our diets. The honey bee die-offs are effecting the economy in three significant ways:
- Declining bee populations are creating a demand for honey bees that surpasses the supply of honey bees. In California, pollination fees have quadrupled over the past 10 year- going from $50 per hive to $200. These costs are passed on to the consumers and are a drain on the economy, as those dollars could be invested in other ventures if honey bees were in plentiful supply.
- Commercial beekeepers have spent more than 2 BILLION dollars to replace over 10 MILLION hives throughout the last 6 years, according to the New York Times. Because beekeepers have to pass these costs on to farmers, who in turn pass these costs onto consumers, less crops are being produced and exported- meaning less foreign revenue coming in and helping boost our domestic economy.
- The Beef and dairy industries are also dramatically affected by honey bee losses. Clover, alfalfa hay and other forage crops are pollinated by honey bees. The cost of feedstock has risen significantly over the past few years, leading to noticeable increases in beef and milk at grocery stores. As consumers spend more money on the nutritional staples their families need, they have less money to spend on other things, depleting even more money from the national economy.
You can help!
SAVE the BEE is a partnership of businesses, consumers, beekeepers and scientists. Their goal is to end the crisis of declining bee populations. By driving awareness, funding research into both cause and solution and educating beekeepers, they are helping us better understand the challenges bees face and giving us resources to help.
Take action at SAVEtheBEE.org