Bees

No 'Bee-Apocalypse,' Thanks to Free Markets

A new study finds no dramatic and widespread economic effects from colony collapse disorder.

|

Warnings of an impending "bee apocalypse" became widespread in 2006, after some commercial beekeepers reported the mass disappearance of worker honeybees from a substantial proportion of their hives, leaving behind larva, young bees, queen bees, and supplies of honey. That winter, between 651,000 and 875,000 of the nation's estimated 2.4 million commercial colonies were lost to the phenomenon, dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Similar mass colony losses have been documented 23 times since 1868. The current outbreak is associated with infestations of invasive varroa mites; with new diseases, including Israeli acute paralysis virus and the gut parasite Nosema; with exposures to some pesticides applied to crops or used to control in-hive parasites; and with poor nutrition stemming from inadequate forage.

Commercial beekeepers across the United States lost 40.7 percent of their honeybee colonies from April 2018 to April 2019, according to the latest annual survey conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland. That loss is a slight increase over the annual average of 38.7 percent, which is roughly double the normal rates prior to the appearance of CCD.

In his August/September 2017 Reason article, "How Capitalism Saved the Bees," Shawn Regan, a research fellow at the Property Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, reported that in spite these CCD losses, the number of commercial colonies in the United States has basically remained steady over the past two and half decades, at around 2.5 million hives:

"Thanks to a robust market for pollination services, [commercial beekeepers] 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," explained Regan. "It's a remarkable story of adaptation and resilience, and the media has almost entirely ignored it."

Commercial beekeepers criss-cross the country selling their honeybees' pollination services to farmers. Many travel in early spring to pollinate almonds in California, then on to Oregon and Washington for apples, pears, and cherries, and later on to blueberries in Maine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has suspended publication of its annual cost-of-pollination reports, but in 2016 income from pollination services was reported as $338 million.

To satisfy the demand for pollination services, beekeepers have long developed techniques for rebuilding lost colonies. This is routinely achieved either by splitting and then introducing a new queen to healthy hives or purchasing packaged bees consisting of around 12,000 workers and a queen from breeders.

A new study in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists confirms that beekeepers have readily adapted to the challenges posed by CCD. Among other things, they find that "the CCD-induced increase in pollination fees increased the retail price of a $7-per-pound can of Smokehouse Almonds by approximately 1.2% or 8.4¢."

The researchers observe:

While the tone of much discussion of pollinators and their health is bleak, our results give cause for considerable optimism, at least for the economically dominant honey bee. We find that CCD has had measurable impacts in only one economically important segment of the industry: pollination fees for almonds. As a whole, the impacts are small relative to our priors. Moreover, and in stark contrast to perceptions formed from surveying media sources as well as a substantial body of academic literature, we find that CCD has not had measurable effects on honey production, input prices, or even numbers of bee colonies. We attribute these findings to a factor largely overlooked in the scientific and popular literature on pollinator decline: the ability of well-functioning markets to adapt quickly to environmental shocks and to mitigate their potential negative impacts.

In other words, capitalism is indeed saving the bees.

Advertisement

NEXT: Libertarian Presidential Candidates Prefer Each Other Over Justin Amash

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Commercial beekeepers criss-cross the country selling their honeybees’ pollination services to farmers.

    How long are we going to allow these bees to be exploited for commercial gain?

    1. If it’s up to the socialists, never fear. They will exploit them for the nationparty’s good instead.

    2. What’s the point of the Mann Act if it can’t prevent the interstate transport of bees for pollination services?

    3. “How long are we going to allow these bees to be exploited for commercial gain?”

      Oh no, Fist has gone vegan.

      1. You shut your whore mouth.

        1. I’ve never seen you so inelegant!

          1. He said vegan. Did you not see that?

            1. A vegan just won the Wimbledon.

    4. I used to keep bees and they are fascinating little creatures. I always thought the libertarian mascot should be the bee. It doesn’t hurt anyone and provides a service to the plants for taking their nectar and pollen, thus engaging in mutual voluntary exchange. However, if attacked, the bee defends itself. The colony makes decisions based on a pure democracy (as described in Honeybee Democracy). Freeloaders (the drones) are tolerated, until they threaten the colony supplies in the fall, at which point they are kicked out. And if it gets too crowded, half the colony leaves to homestead a new cavity. There’s a lot for a libertarian to like.

    5. They will be liberated as soon as Ron pays off his mortgage.
      His advertorializing is getting too funny for Christo Buckley to ignore.

  2. Soooo many things that free markets fix, and no one person really knows how, and absolutely no panel of “experts” could come close to replicating the market’s knowledge

    I wish “I, Pencil” would be required reading to graduate college and to run for political office.

    1. I wish “I, Pencil” would be required reading to graduate college and to run for political office.

      I think you underestimate the number of people who read listen to (the first couple minutes of) “I, Pencil” and conclude that the average moron has no idea how to make business happen and needs good people in charge to save them from their ignorance.

      At least, while I’d like to pretend Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang are blathering morons, I can’t pretend that they haven’t read or heard of “I, Pencil”.

  3. Ronald Bailey shows that capitalism is, in fact, the bee’s knees.

    1. There’s certainly a well-deserved buzz about it.

  4. purchasing packaged bees consisting of around 12,000 workers and a queen from breeders.

    FRANKENBEES!

    1. 12,000 workers, and no union.

      1. People don’t realize that “colony collapse disorder” is merely the bees going on strike.

  5. I wonder how wild pollinators are doing. Anecdotally, I’ve heard a lot (and feel like I notice myself) about low populations of bumblebees and other prolific wild pollinators. Doesn’t seem like a disaster, but I’ve had a few years recently where things in the garden showed signs of inadequate pollination.

    1. Several studies show wild pollinators are suffering. Mostly, they are suffering from destruction of their preferred habitats and their preferred food sources. Honeybees are generalists – able and willing to pollinate (and feed from) many different species of plants in many different habitats and across essentially all of the growing season. Most wild pollinators, in contrast, co-evolved with their preferred foods and habitats so they are most prolific right when those particular flowers are blooming. When we kill those flowers (because they are weeds in the hedgerows that we want to turn into vast acreages of corn and soybeans or into golf courses), we take away the majority of their food.

      1. Honey bees are not native to north America.

        1. True … and irrelevant.

      2. The market solution for wild pollinators is gonna have to be more small-scale flower/foliage/garden farms in rural areas and more gardeners and fewer lawns in urban/suburban. With some sort of a ‘local flower’ type movement too since exotics/tropicals/greenhouse stuff doesn’t help pollinators.

        But the US is an uphill battle for all of that.

        1. JFree
          July.15.2019 at 8:14 pm
          “The market solution for wild pollinators is gonna have to be more small-scale flower/foliage/garden farms in rural areas and more gardeners and fewer lawns in urban/suburban. With some sort of a ‘local flower’ type movement too since exotics/tropicals/greenhouse stuff doesn’t help pollinators.”
          There is no paying market for the bullshit you propose.

          “But the US is an uphill battle for all of that.”
          For the very good reason that you are in scant company romanticizing that pile of horseshit.

        2. Yes, there is a small movement for that and it is slowly growing. But too many people like their lawns all tidy and artificial. It is a leftover status symbol that goes all the way to the European aristocracy, when the nobles were the only ones that could afford to keep a lawn (so they could see approaching enemy troops). I much prefer a field of wildflowers, but I guess that is considered weird by the average American.

        3. There are two separate issues here. First, is JFree’s vision of “small-scale flower/foliage/garden farms in rural areas and more gardeners and fewer lawns in urban/suburban”. Personally I find that a pretty enticing vision and find Sevo’s sputtering rage in response pretty amusing. Snowflakes get butthurt over the darnest things.

          Second is JFree describing his vision as a “market solution”. It’s not, of course – even Sevo gets that correct. People of the Right or Libertarian persuasions tend to use the word “market” as a religious talisman, which magically imparts gravitas and weight to their words. The absurdity of that hints at the limitations of their world-view….

    2. I moved to orange county several years back, and have only seen the number of pollinators growing significantly year over year. The last 2 years, I have had to deal with swarms of honey bees 6 times. (Swarms occur when a hive grows and splits, leading to the new colony tooling around and balling up in trees or eves of houses as the swarm seeks a new hive site.)

      Our area has a lot going for it- namely it maintains pretty significant green space and park rules to prevent the complete paving over of the neighborhood. We probably have 8-10 block-sized or larger parks within a 10 minute walk, plus multiple walking paths that include flowering plants.

      As Rossami notes, the significant impact for pollinators is loss of habitat. When localities allow dense housing (i.e. plenty of multi-family units) blended with green spaces, it preserves pollinators’ habitats and food sources. Unfortunately, when you start to bias AGAINST multi-family dwellings, it leads to loss of green space. Developers cannot build tall apartment/condos so they instead build as many houses as possible on lots that include almost no space for pollen producers.

    3. low populations of bumblebees and other prolific wild pollinators

      I’ve heard that bumblebee populations are in no way threatened. I’ve also heard that they are threatened by competition from honey bees. *shrug*

    4. “inadequate pollination” was my nickname at the fertility clinic.

    5. I wonder how wild pollinators are doing. Anecdotally, I’ve heard a lot (and feel like I notice myself) about low populations of bumblebees and other prolific wild pollinators. Doesn’t seem like a disaster, but I’ve had a few years recently where things in the garden showed signs of inadequate pollination.

      IMO, this is a bit of a non-sequitur; “These non-native plants I shoved into the ground and am tending to aren’t thriving optimally because they aren’t receiving optimal support from the surrounding ecosystem.”

      It seems like the answer to your suspicions about wild pollinators could quite literally be blowing in the wind.

  6. Maybe they went back to where they came from?

    1. I wonder how many commercial bee colonies are lost to just plain old swarming?

      https://www.perfectbee.com/learn-about-bees/the-life-of-bees/how-and-why-bees-swarm

      1. Approximately none.

        Bees don’t simply leave when they swarm. Swarming is more like mitosis. Before the old queen leaves, she lays eggs which the workers begin to grow into new queens. The old queen doesn’t actually leave until her replacements are pretty close to ready to emerge as adults. When she does leave, she only takes about half the workers with her. The other half stay in the old colony, care for the new queen and the old colony builds itself back to strength. A colony swarming is healthy and does not result in a loss to the beekeeper.

        Okay, now some caveats. I said “approximately none” at the top because a small fraction of new queens fail to thrive after emerging. In that scenario, the old colony will wither away over the next few months. A beekeeper might be able to recognize it and introduce another queen in time – or maybe not. It takes both skill and some luck to recognize that condition in time.

        Second, I said that the beekeeper suffers no loss from a swarm. That’s true in a count of colonies, the perspective taken in the article above. But the beekeeper does suffer a loss of productivity from that hive while the new queen is rebuilding the old colony. The bees must divert a lot of biological energy from honey production to raising new baby bees. A hive that produces a hundred pounds of honey in a good year might not produce any excess in a swarming year.

        By the way, the industry term for when bees simply leave rather than splitting the colony is “absconding”. In my part of the country, the two things most likely to trigger absconding are predation by skunks or contamination by a few specific pesticide types. Bad beekeeping practices can also trigger absconding but bad beekeepers don’t generally make it as commercial beekeepers so that’s not really relevant to your question.

        1. How far does the absconding swarm move before establishing a new hive?
          More importantly, can the beekeeper provide a new ‘house’ and recapture the absconding swarm?

          1. Yes, swarm boxes are a thing. The bees usually swarm on a nearby tree and the workers make forays into the surrounding areas to locate an appropriate cavity for a new hive.

  7. I had a feeling that Beepocalypse was going to turn out to be more like Polar Bearocalypse (a complete fabrication) than the extinction of the dodo. When colonies already have a natural collapse rate as high as 20%, a sudden jump to 40% when there are known stresses on the populations (mites and viruses and pesticides, oh, my!) is not something to shit your pants about.

    The fact that there was never even a problem because the market was bringing enough pollenators to the table the whole time is just icing on the cake (frosted to spell out – FUCK OFF ENVIROFREAKS).

    Up next – Batpocalypse (no caped crusader featured) followed by Birdpocalypse (the one caused by choppy choppy windmills and flash-frying by solar farms).

    1. Yeah, but Africanized bees was the real apocalypse.

  8. This article is insane.

    Free markets do nothing whatever to address underlying causes of alarming (and likely man-caused) symptoms. Instead, market operators figure out how to apply a few tweaks to address (for now) only the tiny part of the problem that affects how much can be dollarized at the supermarket—a strategy which free market ideologues line up to cheer.

    And then there is this:

    . . . and with poor nutrition stemming from inadequate forage.

    Which more likely than not means GMO-related weed killing is delivering starvation and reproductive failure to a broad class of natural pollinators—including uncounted species no one knows much about. Once again, free market innovation at its best! Another thing to cheer!

    I try to be polite on these threads. I can’t manage it here. This is deeply, dangerously, willfully stupid. Worse, it’s impossible for anyone familiar with market ideologues to imagine any approach whatever which would induce them to consider evidence ahead of ideology. Incompatible evidence they consider to be invalidated by experience-free, benighted “reasoning.” Which makes free market ideologues impervious to experience.

    1. “…Which more likely than not means GMO-related weed killing is delivering starvation and reproductive failure to a broad class of natural pollinators—including uncounted species no one knows much about. Once again, free market innovation at its best! Another thing to cheer!…”

      Along with polite, you should try not to be ignorant.

    2. Yeah, given the vapidity of such a retort that GMOs cannot be consumed by pollinators, you are going to have to list an actual citation on that one. Or do you try to insert some reference to insecticides or weed preventative as a GMO boogeyman?

      That you disbelieve the free market can offset other losses of be populations is your own emotional issue that flies in the face of the actual numbers. They didn’t say the root cause was abated or diagnosed in the slightest. They said the reduction in numbers was near net zero because of breeding. Fuck, at least try to read the actual words, polite or otherwise.

      From the article:

      “Thanks to a robust market for pollination services, [commercial beekeepers] 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,” explained Regan. “It’s a remarkable story of adaptation and resilience, and the media has almost entirely ignored it.”

      1. Still Curmudgeoned (Nunya), I will treat you as someone with so little natural experience that you can’t be blamed. Here in 4 words is the problem with GMO-related weed killing: it is weed killing. For instance, milkweed is a weed. Roundup—which you would never have heard of if not for GMOs—kills milkweed. Everything else too, but just concentrate for a moment on milkweed.

        You may possibly know that monarch butterflies—which feed at and pollinate a variety of plants—absolutely require milkweed to breed—no milkweed would mean extinction for monarchs. Maybe you don’t care. I care, but monarchs are only here to model my point by example. Given your comment, I can be pretty sure you have never chanced to study a patch of milkweed in bloom. And what happens when milkweed blooms is my point.

        If you had seen blooming milkweed, you would have noted and wondered about the profuse variety of insects milkweed flowers attract—more species than you will typically see attracted to any flower in a typical garden. The first time I saw it, I was astonished. The milkweed insects are almost all wild pollinators. Probably, almost every species you would see (except maybe some honey bees) would be a species you had never noticed before, including various kinds of bees, wasps, hornets, bumblebees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, fake bees, flies evolved to look like bees, and god knows what all. You have no idea what those various insects swarming to the milkweed flowers mean for the survival of all the other kinds of plants they may pollinate. You don’t know if, like monarachs, any of those species are milkweed dependent. You don’t know what those insect species mean for for the survival of other wildlife, including other insects, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, and humans. Neither do I. Neither does anyone. Which means that no matter how much free market sense it makes to use Roundup, it makes no practical sense at all. Because nobody can predict what will happen ecologically. And some of the possibilities are really bad, not just for insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals, but for people.

        1. Stephen Lathrop
          July.15.2019 at 10:25 pm
          “…Which means that no matter how much free market sense it makes to use Roundup, it makes no practical sense at all. Because nobody can predict what will happen ecologically. And some of the possibilities are really bad, not just for insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals, but for people.”

          Lathrop proposes we do nothing which has not been done before, ’cause is scares him.
          Here we have the luddite appeal to the ‘precautionary principle’, neatly aligned with the commie ‘command economy’ which would employ the power of the government to, in this case, make sure millions of people starved.
          All because Lathrop likes Monarch butterflies and is scared that he might not see one where he commonly does.
          Fuck off, slaver.

    3. I agree that the market isn’t currently a solution and is very much the source of the current problem. But the market is going to have to be the solution – because nature itself is the most Hayekian distributed-knowledge complex system around. The individual can only make a productive knowledge-based difference in a small area around themselves.

      Most current adults are useless, counterproductive and will never change. It doesn’t matter whether they are counterproductive from the market or gummint side. On the bright side, we all die and are replaced. Which leads to where I think the solution is.

      Gardens in/near schools – local neighbors who are avid gardeners – nearby polyculture/truck farms/gardens that can provide a rich learning environment (monoculture farms can’t do that) for regular field trips. Connect them and you connect the naturally curious (and/or forced to be exposed to it) with the best local sources of knowledge. That can produce a generation with different interests, preferences than ours and the ability to turn those into better market ideas and structures when they grow up.

      The efforts so far on even the first item are pathetic. There’s a program in Denver called Garden-to-Cafeteria in its sixth year now. Grew 900 lbs of food – that’s 0.15 ounces per student – maybe a dozen veggies. Only 5% of schools participate. And hell we may be the best.

      1. JFree
        July.15.2019 at 9:20 pm
        “I agree that the market isn’t currently a solution and is very much the source of the current problem.”

        Faced with evidence to the contrary, JFree says “naah”. Minus any evidence to support the claim.
        ———————————–
        “Gardens in/near schools – local neighbors who are avid gardeners – nearby polyculture/truck farms/gardens that can provide a rich learning environment (monoculture farms can’t do that) for regular field trips. Connect them and you connect the naturally curious (and/or forced to be exposed to it) with the best local sources of knowledge. That can produce a generation with different interests, preferences than ours and the ability to turn those into better market ideas and structures when they grow up.”

        FFS! JFree wants schools to concentrate on green propaganda! Go suck on a joint and leave the adults alone.

        1. How is growing plants ‘green propaganda’ you moronic sack of rock snot?

          It is the ABSENCE of actual hands-on experience growing plants that leads to teaching by textbook which is where one would insert ‘green propaganda’.

          You are breathtakingly stupid even for a troll.

          1. JFree
            July.15.2019 at 10:33 pm
            “How is growing plants ‘green propaganda’ you moronic sack of rock snot?”
            How is ignoring what I posted a response, you fucking ignoramus?

            “It is the ABSENCE of actual hands-on experience growing plants that leads to teaching by textbook which is where one would insert ‘green propaganda’.”
            So schools are now to propagandize the wonders of growing what you can buy, because stuff?
            How…………….
            Pathetic.

            “You are breathtakingly stupid even for a troll.”
            You are incapable of judging others’ intelligence, as witnessed by your claim that I’m a “troll”.
            You are profoundly ignorant, and post regularly to demonstrate that ignorance, but that doesn’t make you a troll.
            Just one more fucking lefty ignoramus.

            1. So schools are now to propagandize the wonders of growing what you can buy, because stuff?

              You are correct. Schools should inform children that meat grows already shrink-wrapped on ‘meat bushes’ in the back of the supermarket. Same with veggies except they are the hacked off limbs of strange stray pets in the back of supermarkets. That way they can grow up to be as well-informed about the world as you.

              1. JFree
                July.15.2019 at 11:51 pm
                “You are correct. Schools should inform children that meat grows already shrink-wrapped on ‘meat bushes’ in the back of the supermarket. Same with veggies except they are the hacked off limbs of strange stray pets in the back of supermarkets. That way they can grow up to be as well-informed about the world as you.”

                As a fucking lefty ignoramus, do you ever post without lying about the post to which you are supposedly responding?
                Or is it a requirement that you make up an argument from the voices in your head and respond to that?
                Those of us not afflicted with LIS are curious.

                1. That’s “Lefty Ignoramus Syndrome”, as I’m sure JFree is far from capable of ‘getting’ that.

      2. JFree, there are some points worth thinking about in what you say. My biggest concern is the spectacular disproportion in scale between a natural-seeming network of local gardens on a tiny scale of acreage, vs. the vast acreage given over to industrial agriculture operated under complete disregard for ecological principles.

        The adaptive capacity of species depends critically on genetic variants scattered at random among individuals. The number of individuals available to host variations depends on the extent of suitable available habitat. If industrial practices clean out that variation from industrial-sized land allotments, the overall variety left in the genome residing in much-smaller allotments elsewhere may not prove enough.

        1. “JFree, there are some points worth thinking about in what you say. My biggest concern is the spectacular disproportion in scale between a natural-seeming network of local gardens on a tiny scale of acreage, vs. the vast acreage given over to industrial agriculture operated under complete disregard for ecological principles.”
          “Family Farm” romantic bullshit, followed by luddite lies. Do you really think Ned and Nelly gave more thought to ‘the environment than even ADM?
          If so, you’re not even as bright as I thought might be possible.
          ————————————
          “The adaptive capacity of species depends critically on genetic variants scattered at random among individuals. The number of individuals available to host variations depends on the extent of suitable available habitat. If industrial practices clean out that variation from industrial-sized land allotments, the overall variety left in the genome residing in much-smaller allotments elsewhere may not prove enough.”
          A pile of bullshit impressive even for you.
          Parsed:
          “I don’t know what’s happening here, so it scares me!”
          Pathetic.

        2. That vast acreage of monoculture is going to have to face (and fail) a different set of challenges. It won’t be eliminated because of some side-effects. It just won’t. Humans ain’t gonna subordinate ourselves to the optimum evolutionary environment for a butterfly. Annual monoculture has its own inherent brittleness. That is what will eventually break it or fragment it up.

          Far more significant than me thinking those small-scale things will do anything per se long-term sustainable is that
          a)those small-scale things ARE the best learning environment (don’t learn much surrounded by miles of corn except about corn) and
          b)that learning is where people will figure out how to make it more profitable/robust and to acquire different market preferences.

          Even a simple thing like kids earning their first income by landscaping or planting/harvesting veggie gardens around the neighborhood – rather than exclusively mowing lawns – will change what they value as adults. They’re never going to earn their first dollar operating a 1000-acre corn farm. That is another part of the brittleness of monoculture – farmers are getting old fast (35% of ‘beginning’ farmers are over age 55).

          1. “a)those small-scale things ARE the best learning environment (don’t learn much surrounded by miles of corn except about corn) and”
            Bullshit, unless you want to learn what your backyard garden affects.

            “b)that learning is where people will figure out how to make it more profitable/robust and to acquire different market preferences.”
            Oh, the (inferred) fantasy that rich people will cause the government to outlaw cheap food!
            There is a term for the lefty rich who will try to starve the poor because ‘romance’, I’m just not sure what it is.
            “Privileged fucking assholes” comes to mind…

    4. It’s astonishing how you manage to be wrong on so many issues.

      See the article above. This pattern has been observed some 23 times over a century and a half. It is neither alarming nor likely man-caused.

      Poor nutrition is a problem but it has nothing to do with GMO. It has more to do with the increased prevalence of edge-to-edge planting and the elimination of hedgerows and other fallow areas that provided alternatives to the wind-pollinated (and therefore unattractive to bees) corn, wheat and other grass-based crops.

      Deeply, dangerously, willfully stupid sounds like an excellent description of your approach to the topic. Get an education. Or at least talk to a beekeeper sometime.

      1. It very likely is GMO related. Glyphosate is massively destructive to bacteria by disrupting the shikimate pathway. That’s been known since its invention. It’s as much a bactericide as an herbicide. Insects are more dependent on gut bacteria than we are. The primary function of GM in crops is to make them glyphosate-resistant – so that they can be sprayed in glyphosate without killing them. So they ARE sprayed with glyphosate. Which means insects consume it. It’s not the entire problem – but glyphosate use is very widespread across the US – and obviously in urban/suburban areas too.

        1. And the shikimate pathway is directly related to nutrition since that is what processes folates (B-vitamins) and aromatic amino acids (all of which are solely diet-derived).

          1. JFree
            July.15.2019 at 10:25 pm
            ‘And the shikimate pathway is directly related to nutrition since that is what processes folates (B-vitamins) and aromatic amino acids (all of which are solely diet-derived).”
            To JFree and other lefty imbeciles, this is really important!

            “THE SHIKIMATE PATHWAY
            THE MICROBIOME, AND DISEASE:HEALTH EFFECTS OF GMOS ON HUMANS”
            https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/sites/default/files/the_shikimate_pathway_gut_flora_and_0.pdf

            Fuck off, you pathetic piece of shit.

            1. Thanks for the link. It made me realize that you’ve never actually written a term paper or done research on something you didn’t actually know about (called ‘learning’) or had a really shitty teacher. So you think others don’t know how to either. So throwing up the first google result you find when you run across a new term is somehow relevant to you because you think that’s how it’s all done.

              My apologies for calling you a troll. you’re not. You’re just not worth bothering with. Happy poo-flinging.

        2. JFree
          July.15.2019 at 10:21 pm
          “It very likely is GMO related….”
          Followed by a lot of innuendo and no causal evidence.
          Exactly what we expect of lefties regarding “science”.

        3. JFree, if that were the causal pathway, we would not see historical evidence of the same pattern of bee losses before the invention of glyphosate.

          That’s not to say that glyphosate is completely harmless – just that the pattern of evidence does not fit that as the cause of this particular problem.

          1. The only bee losses that are tracked like that are honeybees. Those are essentially a completely managed species now. Those previous CCD losses are VERY local too. The collapses since 1998 or so have become increasingly widespread around the world. And it is coinciding with large insect losses across species. Granted most bugs don’t get much sympathy from us – or me. But tracking those losses outside the honeybees is imo scientifically more important than tracking honeybee losses – because those others aren’t as highly managed.

            I think glyphosate is probably a smaller issue for honeybees than for wild pollinators. Mainly because honeybees now (esp in US) tend to be used intensively in particular areas at specific times – and during those times glyphosate use there is probably MUCH MUCH lower than other times of year.

            I think a bigger issue re honeybees is that they too are now part of the whole monoculture brittleness. And so, mites, pathogens, etc are going to increasingly spread rapidly and cause huge damage quickly.

          2. Rossami, I am very uncertain about that pattern of bee losses. Bees were a big thing in my life since the first time I steeped on one in clover, at about age 2. I have been on the lookout for them ever since, and always seemed to find plenty, until about 10 years ago. According to you, there should have been, by now, about 6 intervals of bee shortagea along the way. But unlike this most recent and protracted interval, I never noticed them. I am not saying the others did not happen. I doubt this one is similar to the others.

      2. Poor nutrition is a problem but it has nothing to do with GMO. It has more to do with the increased prevalence of edge-to-edge planting and the elimination of hedgerows and other fallow areas that provided alternatives to the wind-pollinated (and therefore unattractive to bees) corn, wheat and other grass-based crops.

        So let me get this straight, Rossami. Bees get their nutrition from some agricultural crops, and from fallow lands full of somewhat natural vegetation. Those of course would include not only hedgerows and edge areas, but also the farm fields themselves, if those were ever left fallow, or perhaps periodically rotated into a flowering crop bees could use. And in industrial-type agriculture, the farm fields are many times larger than all the other areas combined. The free market sees to that.

        Now comes glyphosate, and GMOs. The intended strategy for use of those is to kill every non-GMO plant—not excluding those in edge areas and hedgerows. By intent—but willy-nilly, because it is a heedless strategy—that amounts to a plan to kill on purpose every last naturally-growing plant a bee (or other insect) could eat, or use to reproduce. Insofar as possible, as a practical matter, that strategy is best accomplished by aerial spraying over enormous fields, and across entire regions. Once again, willy-nilly, it amounts to a strategy to depopulate the region of insects, by depriving them of food and breeding resources. That may or may not be the intention. It is the unavoidable result.

        Do you really believe vast regions largely depopulated of both naturally growing plants, and insects which depend on them, will sustain bees? Are bees you can move around to avoid such biological deserts the only standard anyone needs to assess whether or not free market practices are delivering sustainable natural results? That last question is the one the OP utterly begged. Can you answer it?

        Except as an imaginative defense of free market ideology, I can’t see the point of your advocacy.

  9. . . . and with poor nutrition stemming from inadequate forage.

    Which more likely than not means GMO-related weed killing is delivering starvation and reproductive failure to a broad class of natural pollinators—including uncounted species no one knows much about. Once again, free market innovation at its best! Another thing to cheer!

    Actually its more likely due the high demand for commercial pollinating resulting in too many colonies being kept overwinter in a small area, resulting in too little food for many more bee colonies than would otherwise naturally exist so close to one another. The fact that colonies collapse during the winter and not during the growing season (when they have plenty of forage due to their commercial pollinating duties) should make this obvious to anyone who takes the time to think about it

  10. Nobody told the bees swarming my Oregano that they faced extinction.

    Those little bastards are there every year.

    1. I tried to teach my kid how to eat honeysuckle but the damn bees wouldn’t give us a break. I tried telling them they shouldn’t be there in such numbers, but alas, they wouldn’t listen.

  11. NPR interviewed some guy a while back trying to get him to say that we would all starve to death unless we stop using pesticides because the bees would all die. The problem was that he was a real expert and knew his stuff. Basically, his message was that there really isn’t a problem with bees and if there was, most of the world’s crops are not pollinated by insects and of those that are, there are multiple types of insects that can pollinate and they would proliferate if the bees died off.

    Like so many other “the sky is falling” news stories, this is about control with no thought of unintended consequences- I think bad pesticides are killing the bees and no matter what the evidence shows, we need to ban them even if it means that we’ll have lower crop yields.

    1. “I think bad pesticides are killing the bees and no matter what the evidence shows, we need to ban them even if it means that we’ll have lower crop yields.”

      I think lefty imbeciles need to provide evidence for their imbecilic claims.
      Fuck off, slaver.

    2. If it wasn’t for so much food production, we could get along with a natural amount of bees.

  12. Anecdotal, I know, but I’ve left a hive growing in a tree in my backyard for the last few years. I had a neighbor freak out and want to kill bees when they swarmed to start a new hive. Even after they moved on she kept insisting I kill nonexistent bees from the swarm that went elsewhere. She is an intellectual that knows more than me, so I kindly ignore her.

  13. Put a couple of frames of workers in an empty hive and they will make a new queen.

  14. […] No ‘Bee-Apocalypse,’ Thanks to Free Markets  Reason […]

  15. […] No ‘Bee-Apocalypse,’ Thanks to Free Markets  Reason […]

  16. Fine, if you ignore the role that capitalism plays in poisoning the bees in the first place.

  17. This writer has no idea what he is even talking about. Promote capitalism all you want but please do it with facts, not nonsense. The honey industry is the problem not the solution. Domesticated bees are driving out bees that humans don’t like to exploit like bubble bees, because they have nothing to offer industry. This is just animal exploitation and slavery, something a libertarian should be against. I am against slavery in principle, therefore I do no support bee keeping. Honey is disgusting and unhealthy. Do you people realize that it’s bee vomit? And that’s what you want on your toast?

    1. New parody account!

  18. […] No ‘Bee-Apocalypse,’ Thanks to Free Markets Ronald Bailey, Reason […]

  19. […] A new study in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists confirms that beekeepers have readily adapted to the challenges posed by CCD. Among other things, they find that “the CCD-induced increase in pollination fees increased the retail price of a $7-per-pound can of Smokehouse Almonds by approximately 1.2% or 8.4¢.” Read More > at Reason […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.