Honey Bees are NOT going extinct!!!

You’ve probably heard by now that honey bees have been put on the endangered species list for the first time ever! There are images and memes circulating the internet about saving the bees, the cheerios company is giving away wildflower seeds to save the bees, and Just a few days ago an article was published on the Globalresearch.ca website that discusses the “death”and“extinction” of bees.

However, there is one detail that people are missing, honey bees are not going extinct and they have not been placed on the endangered species list. The only bees on the endangered species list are 3 species of bee that live only in hawaii. All other 19,997 bee species are actually doing quite well, especially the honey bee. According to Dr. Don Miller an entomology professor at California State University Chico there are more honey bees now than there have been in years.

It is true that without honey bees or bees in general the earth and the food we eat as we know it would be in danger. Honey bees and almost all of the other 19,997 species of bee are pollinators. This means that they help plants reproduce by transferring pollen (which is the male contribution of reproduction in plants) from one plant to another. Plants are important to us because they feed us and provide oxygen for us to breath. With the help of bees we are able to have a variety of foods and air to breath. However, it is important to know that honey bees are actually in introduced species in the North America and were brought here by European settlers. Our native bees can do just fine pollinating native plants on their own, but honey bees do create honey which not all bees are capable of. The loss of honey bees would be more of a devastation for honey bee farmers who rely on the honey to sell for money. I suppose if you love honey then you may be devastated as well.

Possibly a cause for the misconception that honey bees are going extinct was the so called “colony collapse” in 2006 which sounds bad but it was never bad enough to take out an entire species or cause them to be endangered according to Christopher Ingraham’s article in the washington Post. It was also more of an issue for farmers due to financial loss than it was for the bees. Colony collapse is when the majority of worker bees disappear, leaving behind their queen, plenty of food, and a few nurse bees to care for juveniles still in the hive. This is actually a common thing that happens to beekeepers and has been known as disappearing disease, spring dwindle, may disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease. It was renamed colony collapse in 2006 due to the increase in disappearances of honey bees in north america. During this time there were also many other countries experiencing the same phenomenon. There are thought to be many causes of colony collapse disorder including varroa mite (a parasite that causes deformities and death to bees), genetic factors (hive cleanliness), certain pesticides, and diseases.

Many things are being done to help the honey bee colonies become less susceptible to colony collapse disorder. Europeans have bred a honey bee that is resistant to the Varroa mite, pesticides that have been thought to cause this disorder are being banned in many areas. Farmers are being encouraged to use native bees for pollination such as bumblebees and mason bees. The native bees will have a greater ability to find other native food sources when crops are not ready to be pollinated. Medicines can also be used on bee colonies that are ill and queens from strong hives can be bred to create stronger colonies. Since all of these measures have been taken honey bee colonies have been rising since 2007 and there were over 2.7 million colonies in 2014 and that number is rising.

Although honey bees are important for agriculture and they should definitely be thought of and cared for, it is important that we stay informed and are aware of all of the facts. Honey bees are not endangered, there are many species of bee and they all pollinate, and honey bees are actually not even native to North America anyways. There are many environmental problems in the world and it is best not to get carried away with one that doesn’t really matter. Honey bees are doing well and we should be happy about that! Now let’s worry about some real environmental issues.