How U.S. honey beekeepers averted a bee-pocalypse

Beginning in 2006, we began hearing/reading frighterning news about a Bee-pocalypse — the (bee) colony collapse disorder.

Beekeepers reported mysteriously large losses to their honeybee hives: The bees weren’t just dying—they were abandoning their hives altogether.

Given the importance of bees to agriculture — they pollinate about a third of our  food crops, accounting for $15 billion in annual value to the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — the media swiftly declared the dying and disappearing bees an apocalyptic disaster.

National Public Radio declared “a crisis point for crops”; Time called it a “bee-pocalypse” and foretold “a world without bees”; Quartz called it “beemageddon”. The colony collapse disorder was blamed on everything from genetically modified crops, pesticides, and global warming to cellphones and high-voltage electric transmission lines.

What the MSM haven’t told you is the rest of the story.

Shawn Regan writes for Reason.com, August/September 2017:

“But here’s what you might not have heard. Despite the increased mortality rates, there has been no downward trend in the total number of honeybee colonies in the United States over the past 10 years. Indeed, there are more honeybee colonies in the country today than when colony collapse disorder began.

Beekeepers have proven incredibly adept at responding to this challenge. Thanks to a robust market for pollination services, they have addressed the increasing mortality rates by rapidly rebuilding their hives, and they have done so with virtually no economic effects passed on to consumers. It’s a remarkable story of adaptation and resilience, and the media has almost entirely ignored it.

The chief reason commercial beekeeping exists is to help plants have sex. Some crops, such as corn and wheat, can rely on the wind to transfer pollen from stamen to pistil. But others, including a variety of fruits and nuts, need assistance. And since farmers can’t always depend solely on bats, birds, and other wild pollinators to get the job done, they turn to honeybees for help with artificial insemination. Unleashed by the thousands, the bees improve the quality and quantity of the farms’ yields; in return, the plants provide nectar, which the bees use to produce honey.

Honeybees are essentially livestock. Their owners breed them, rear them, and provide proper nutrition and veterinary care to them. Unlike bumblebees and wasps, honeybees are not native to North America; the primary commercial species, the European honeybee, is thought to have been introduced by English settlers in the 17th century.

Commercial beekeepers are migratory. They truck their hives across the country in tractor trailers on a journey to “follow the bloom,” stacking their hives on semis and moving at night while the bees are at rest. Most travel to California in the early spring to pollinate almonds. After that, they take their own routes. Some go to Oregon and Washington for apples, pears, and cherries; others to the apple orchards of New York. Some pollinate fruits and vegetables in Florida in the early spring, followed by blueberries in Maine….

After blooming season, beekeepers shift their focus from pollinating crops to making honey. Many commercial crops that require honeybee pollination, such as almonds and apples, do not provide enough nectar for the bees to produce surplus honey. So in the summer, beekeepers often head to the Midwest, where they essentially pasture the bees, turning their hives loose in fields near sunflower, clover, or wildflowers, which supply large amounts of nectar and allow the bees to make plenty of honey. When summer ends, the beekeepers truck their bees back south to spend the winter in warmer climates.

Some observers claim that this annual migration is contributing to colony collapse. As the food writer Michael Pollan put it in The New York Times in 2007, “the lifestyle of the modern honeybee leaves the insects so stressed out and their immune systems so compromised that, much like livestock on factory farms, they’ve become vulnerable to whatever new infectious agent happens to come along.” But it is precisely this modern-livestock lifestyle and the active markets for pollination services that have allowed non-native honeybees to flourish on our continent. They are the reason honeybee populations have remained steady even in the face of disease and other afflictions.

In other words, without government intervention, capitalism — in the form of commercial beekeepers — is successfully dealing with the colony collapse disorder by restocking and rebuilding bee hives. The result is that there are more honeybee colonies in America today than when colony collapse disorder began in 2006.

The only thing different is that the MSM are not reporting the good news.

~Eowyn

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26 responses to “How U.S. honey beekeepers averted a bee-pocalypse

  1. Pingback: How U.S. honey beekeepers averted a bee-pocalypse — Fellowship of the Minds – NZ Conservative Coalition

  2. Stephen T. McCarthy

    Very informative and interesting article. THANKS!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    (link:] Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

    Liked by 4 people

  3. traildustfotm

    Thank you for this encouraging report, Dr. Eowyn.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I am a bee keeper. I have experienced the normal loss I would expect on an annual basis. Yes, some bee colonies die out, BUT THAT IS NORMAL.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Dr Eowyn . . . What a wonderful and informative article. I am sure that many of us were left feeling rather depressed at the oncoming end of civilization as we knew it . . . at least I know I was! I am glad to hear “the rest of the story.” To me this is a testament to how great Our God is, that he has instilled in His children, the intelligence and will to shepherd the creatures over which He has given us the responsibility of oversight.

    God Bless our bee keepers here in the United States of America!

    Dr Eowyn thank you for dispelling such a dire catastrophic calamity. . . you are the best.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. All things that are born have a time when they must die for a new cycle to start, if it doesn’t happen there is no room for anything and the globe would explode. When especies die new especies are born and even better because Mother Nature takes care of improvements. All that climate change is nothing but scare tactics, bull caca, when Al Gore, the BIG BAD whale goes, that’s it, no improvements needed from Mother Nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Very informative. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. With the part that said that bees help ‘plants have sex’ I just thought: BEEAGRA! Instead of, you know, Viagra…..oh never mind! 😉
    I bet they don’t let their bees even touch those GMO crops, since every time a bee pollinates a GMO plant, the bee dies.
    So, maybe humans shouldn’t eat it either.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yay bees!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. ManCavePatriot

    For the last few years, I have foregone the use of chemical herbicides and allowed nature to flourish. My lawn has patches of clover but with it come honeybees. They look healthy and hearty so obviously they enjoy their environment. Suburbia needs to get over their passion [mind control] for the perfect lawn. Clover actually puts nitrogen back into the soil.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. A few years back, our bees here were hit hard. They found some disease and mites in the dying ones. And yet, all around you saw bee traps hanging around, trapping and killing the precious little critters. They still hang the traps.
    The honey made here is awesome. Thank goodness the bee keepers around the country took that threat we had awhile back seriously remembering the old adage, ” as the bee goes, so goes man kind”. Some people don’t get it.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. According to my bestest NB bud J, Alton Brown is a beekeeper.

    Like

  13. The bee is such a busy soul,
    it has no time for birth control.
    And that is why in times like these,
    we have so many sons of bees.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great news, thanks for the update!

    “Bee-pocalypse” and “Beemageddon” – lol, obviously prophecies straight from the Bee-ble.” 😀

    Media’s constant doom & gloom messages are a stressor in & of themselves. The poor bee colonies that “collapsed” were probably watching too much of it.

    No More TeeVee for the Bee.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Great article. But we also need to know what role, if any, Monsanto has played in the beemageddon. We also need to know what genetic engineering Monsanto has done, if any. Because Monsanto markets extinction, we can be certain they’re never going to give up as long as they’re around.

    Like

    • steven . . . . Excellent point! I for one, fear Monsanto, they really do not seem to care what they do to humans, animals or plant life.

      Like

  16. Pingback: How U.S. Honey Beekeepers Averted a Bee-Pocalypse | The Olive Branch Report

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