Aaron Dodds, 36, started his first bee colony back in 2018. For just a few hundred dollars, he and his wife found 30,000 bees in the backyard garden in New Hagerstown, Ohio. Dodds says he was impressed by their mutual concern over the “plight of the jirgas.”
Bees are important to the food chain, contaminating one-third of what we eat, such as coffee, potatoes, and most fruits and vegetables. Dodds, who works as a project manager in the Jefferson Civil and Water Conservation District, said he was “helping to bring back a species in areas that are bad and desolate from an insect point of view.”
Like Dodds, hundreds of thousands of Americans have recently taken up beekeeping as a hobby – and as a means of saving the world. Celebrities have inspired a lot of people by creating “buzz”. Beyonc, In the cover story. This month’s Harper’s Bazaar., Mutters about the beehive on its roof. Last May, Angelina Jolie was photographed. National Geographic Covered in a swarm of bees, a headline announces that the actress “embraces bees – and women bees as environmentalists.” Today, there are more than 2.98 million bee colonies. Registered in the United States.According to the US Department of Agriculture – 2.35 million colonies in 2002.
But Andrew Coty, president of the New York City Beekeepers Association, said the fear of beekeeping was wrong.
“We are not going to the world without bees,” he told The Post. “But it’s more frightening to tell the story that the sky is falling than to understand the real story.”
The idea that bees are endangered began in 2006, when commercial bees signaled that their colonies were rapidly declining. Some noted that they saw 90% of their bees die or simply disappear in the same winter.
Experts called “colon colpus disorder” could not find any cause for this problem. Some blamed pesticides and genetically modified crops, while others blamed parasitic verruca insects or climate change. There was even speculation. Cell phone radiation Was responsible.
Whatever the reason, panic spread. The media had a field day, publishing warnings about an inevitable “bee magdon” or “bee poclips” as “a threat to our food supply”. It ended in a. Time Magazine’s 2013 cover story., With the scary headline: “A world without bees: If we don’t understand what is killing bees, we will pay the price.”
(Coty, president of the Bee Association, showed the bee on this infamous cover, but it was never mentioned in the story.)
Manu Sanders, a psychologist and professor at the University of New England in Australia, agrees that the media created the hysteria of a dystopian bee.
“As a species, there is no risk of the bee becoming extinct or becoming severely deficient,” he told The Post. In fact, he added, “the number of bees in the world has been steadily increasing over the last few decades.”
The first case of a mysterious disappearance of a large number of bees was recorded in Colorado in the late 1800s, when it was called the “disappearing disease” long before the synthetic pesticide routine. Falling colonies were blamed for a lack of pollen or especially hot summers. Since then, bees have experienced lizard disappearances in the last century before reaching a 20-year high in 2015. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
“I know we hear about 20 to 30 percent annual losses,” said Stephen Bookman, a pollination ecologist who specializes in bees and an associate professor at the University of Arizona. “It [episodes] Most regional, stained, and by no means does this mean that all commercially managed bee colonies in the United States are down by 30 percent each year.
These numbers do not include wild bees.
“In my own state, Arizona, the number of wild African bees is 10 to 1 or more,” Bookman said.
And yet the media keeps getting its hands on bees. The New York Times reported in July that “Beekeeping is booming in New York.“Just a few years after the hair-raising headline was published”Doomsday is here.. “As recently as last August, ABC News. Was reporting The national bee population has declined by 40% each winter since 2018, citing the relevant biologist who warned that the decline was “unbearable.”
Coty says their numbers aren’t wrong, they don’t tell the whole story. “There are losses in the winter,” he says. “But up to 40 per cent damage is reported, 60 per cent remains. Then the colonies are rebuilt and spring comes. The queen bee lays her weight in the eggs daily and lays 2,000 eggs daily.
But many hobbyists have bought bees into scary stories, believing that their hives are helping save the bees. A. Post a story From 2018, it was discovered that even the youngest bee advocates think that their efforts are making a difference. Kendall Chapman, 17, who goes hiking with her mother in Tribeca, said she was inspired by a story about the declining number of bees in nature.
“I decided, instead of worrying, I should do something,” he told The Post.
“But Chapman and his fellow fans are saving nothing,” Coty said.
“They Think They are, “he said.” They are not.
Not only are bees endangered, they may be responsible for the decline in other bee populations.
There are only 4,000 species of bees in North America (out of 20,000 globally), and the European bee is not one of them. They were first introduced to the continent in the 17th century and quickly became an essential livestock, with a large export of wax and honey used to make everything from sweeteners to medicines to cement.
The problem, Saunders said, is that their presence could “damage wild insects in many places. The growing number of bees is depleting the resources needed by wild insects, parasites and diseases in the wild.” Spread in insects.
“These colonies extract flower resources, such as nectar and pollen, from the wild,” Bockman added. “It produces food from the mouths of native bees and other jirgas.”
The insect that bothers the bee the most is the helpless bhangli, a native of North America.
According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State has seen a 99 percent decline in U.S. geography in the last 20 years alone. And yet the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been slow to protect the Bumblebees Endangered Species Act. (They finally did it last August. Bombs Franklin. Bumblebee, native to Southern Oregon and Northern California.
But the irony is that bees are not always the best pollinators of crops or wild plants, Bochman added. “Bees do not sonicate flowers” – also called buzz pollination – “and thus they are not good pollen from tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, blueberries or cranberries. Bhangras are much better at this.”
Alison McAfee, a psychologist who studies the reproductive health of bees, gave up her hobby of beekeeping last year when she learned that her small pets were being harmed.
If financial resources and time are spent on bees only for recreation, they are instead invested in activities that directly benefit the native species, such as landscaping or local fodder grasses. And planting trees, native flies will be better. Post
The misconception that bees are in trouble is good for one thing: business.
In New York, bees are sold by weight, which Kota has compared to cheese. A “package” of bees is usually between $ 185 and $ 225.
In addition to selling honey, Coat’s family business, Silver Mine Apparel, LLC (also known as Andrew Honey) offers bee fights, sheep removal and live bees. By the pound.
A packet of bees is usually three pounds, which is equivalent to about 12,000 bees, he said. “We have an annual bee race and distribute hundreds of packages in Manhattan and Borough each April.”
As long as there is demand, “someone tries to meet that demand,” Coty said. “As long as hobbyists and sideliners want to get involved in the beekeeping game, growers will buy as many packages of bees as consumers can afford.”
Since New York State legalized beekeeping in 2010 – and New York Magazine was advising readers to “consider them their new pets” – interest in the hobby has grown exponentially. At least four times, “Coty said.
But accurate statistics are difficult to come by, or verify. While the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which cares for bees, has official records of only 326 registered hives in 2020, Quota estimates that the actual number is “close to 1,000.”
Buckman said all 50 states have a different way of keeping track of the number of bee colonies each year, and “some have not even been ordered to keep records. We don’t really know how much we have.” Whether there are bee colonies or not, he added that beekeepers have a “slightly rogue lifestyle”. “They don’t like the IRS knowing how many ‘heads’ they have in their range.”
Bookman suspects that some organizations, such as the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation, are “standing by to receive federal grants and research dollars” if it appears that the number of bees is declining. Is.
Vince Tapidino, a retired bee biologist, holds an even more sinister view. “Ask yourself, ‘Who benefits from bees?'” He told The Post. “Honey Bazar, scientists who want research money, media outlets that want to create a sensation.”
But none of them care about Dodd, a beekeeper in Ohio who believes in the benefits of beekeeping and his own personal hive.
If nothing else, he said, “My wife gets free honey.”