May 10, 2017

The Status of the U.S. Honey Bee Population

You have probably heard rumors surrounding the dwindling U.S. honey bee population for several years. While many theories abound including disease, pesticides, and climate change, this March finally saw a federal protection hold lifted to preserve the Bombus affinis, also known as the rusty patched bumble bee. This particular bee is native to the United States and Canada, and has been cited as at-risk for extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Why are these bees so important to protect from the possibility of extinction? Let’s take a look at how their existence can benefit nature. Many plants rely on bee pollination, which extends to the production of food crops like fruits and vegetables. Without them, we would have fewer insect-pollinated plants available for growth and distribution.

Honey bees are involved in a much larger part in our food system than previously realized. It has been said that bees play a role in one out of every three bites of food that we eat.[1] Pollinators like the U.S. honey bee move seeds and pollen among varying flowers to induce fertilization. Without pollinators, 90% of wild plants and 30% of global food crops could be negatively impacted.2 More than $15 billion worth of U.S. agricultural crops are pollinated by bees, as well as $150 million in honey production that takes place each year.[2]

By being placed on this endangered species list, the honey bee now has a recovery program aimed at protecting their natural habitats from destruction, as well as from any unauthorized release of chemical agents, such as herbicides and pesticides in these regions. Seeing as the rusty patched bumble bee used to thrive in over 30 U.S. states and now can only be found in 13, the measures to ensure their populations can still expand means that these strict regulations will need to extend to all lands where these bees would otherwise typically thrive. Several states will now have to monitor and refrain from toxic chemicals that might jeopardize potential beehives.[3]

This is huge news for sustainability practices, not only in the U.S., but on a global level. Comvita is doing its part by being a steward for the planet. We care greatly about bees and environmental health, no matter the continent. That’s why our products take into special consideration that honeybees are now considered an endangered species. We always apply the highest quality standards to preserve nature’s healing intelligence. Our aim is to provide the utmost freshness, purity, and authenticity by working together with nature; not against it.

It is our responsibility to take measures in protecting U.S. honey bees, both for ourselves and for mother nature. For more information on how you can get involved, research wildlife organizations like the National Resources Defense Council, Xerces Society, and The Honeybee Conservancy, then consider donating any time or money you may have available to help this worthy cause.