You probably haven't thought much about honey bees. It's not a subject likely to come up at a dinner party (with the possible exception of how the heck do you get them to stop building a hive inside your mailbox).
But bees – better known as pollinators in agricultural circles – are critical to crop production. USDA estimates that bees pollinate roughly 90 odd U.S. crops including apples, peaches, plums, strawberries avocados, green beans, cotton, tomatoes grapes and a host of other nuts and flowering veggies.
It is no exaggeration to say that if bees were to go extinct Starbucks would be out of business. So it was a real slap in the face when the latest annual nationwide survey from the University of Maryland found bees dying at an alarming rate.
The UM survey showed U.S. beekeepers lost 40.7 percent of their bee colonies from April 2018 to April 2019. Even more concerning is that winter losses for the same period were 37.7 percent – the highest since the survey began 13 years ago. Yikes. So to state the obvious: the sky is blue, water is wet, and bees are responsible for much of the food we eat. On the face of it keeping bees healthy should be job one for multinational agricultural companies. But it hasn't worked that way.