How ‘pollinator entrepreneurs’ helped stave off ‘beepocalypse’

| | July 14, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Editor’s note: Shawn Regan is a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Montana.]

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 [was threatening, between 2006-2010].

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.

Related article:  'Neonics not key driver of bee deaths'--USDA study clashes with White House considering restrictions on pesticide

There have been 23 episodes of major colony losses since the late 1860s. Two of the most recent bee killers are Varroa mites and tracheal mites, two parasites that first appeared in North America in the 1980s.

Beekeepers have developed a variety of strategies to combat these afflictions, including the use of miticides, fungicides, and other treatments.

Even as beekeepers have had to repeatedly rebuild their lost hives, the overall costs to them, and to consumers, have been minimal.

Thank the perseverance of beekeepers and the resilience of pollination markets.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: How Capitalism Saved the Bees (behind paywall)

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