We track honeybee insect colony populations because they are a valuable monetary asset to humanity. I’d venture to say that we know a lot about insects in general because of the honeybee.
The beeinformed partnership tracks colony loss, and this past year was a hard one:
I’m all for helping this species of insect, not to mention all the other ‘wild’ pollinators out there that provide far more benefit to humanity than we may realize. While I have no doubt that insecticides are negatively impacting our environment and health, it is important to keep things in perspective and look at facts before plotting a course of action.
Honeybee populations fluctuate a great deal due to the monetary value of what we can produce from them. When there’s a demand for honey and bee products, bee populations increase. “Cherry Picking” data to support any case can be a detrimental thing, and indeed if you look at honeybee population figures between 1946 and 2006, it looks like ‘bees are doomed’. Expand those figures over a larger date range however, and, though we’re still on average losing bees, the doomsday scenario seems less likely.
This is from a commercial beekeeper in California, and one who doesn’t seem to have a problem with proper use of insecticides.
Draw your own conclusions. Its clear we have a log way to go to replenish natural, healthy, wild colony populations of the past, however through good breeding of pest resistant survivor stock, there’s hope that we can get those wild populations of honeybees back up in number.