Scientists have found that the honeybee’s plight has been vastly overstated, and they are not as beneficial as people say.
Many research pieces and statements from environmental activists have raised the alarm about dwindling honeybee populations, and how their disappearance could devastate agriculture. But new reports quoting various skeptics suggests that this problem may be overblown.
These scientists say that honeybees actually are not abs vital as they are made out to be, and as a non-native species they may even be somewhat harmful. There are plenty of native wild bee populations, and when the time comes to collect pollen they may be getting crowded out.
“Lots of conservation organizations are promoting local honey, and even promoting sponsorships of honeybees and that kind of stuff, and that increasingly annoyed me,” Jonas Geldmann of the University of Cambridge told NPR recently.
The following is an excerpt about honeybees from Wikipedia.
A honey bee (or honeybee) is any member of the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax. In the early 21st century, only seven species of honey bee are recognized, with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically six to eleven species are recognized. The best known honey bee is the Western honey bee which has been domesticated for honey production and crop pollination. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, including the stingless honey bees, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees. The study of bees, which includes the study of honey bees, is known as melittology.
Species of Apis are generalist floral visitors, and pollinate a large variety of plants, but by no means all plants. Of all the honey bee species, only A. mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants. The value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars. Bees collect 66 pounds (30 kg) of pollen per year per hive.
Two species of honey bee, A. mellifera and A. cerana indica, are often maintained, fed, and transported by beekeepers. Modern hives also enable beekeepers to transport bees, moving from field to field as the crop needs pollinating and allowing the beekeeper to charge for the pollination services they provide, revising the historical role of the self-employed beekeeper, and favoring large-scale commercial operations.
With an increased number of honey bees in a specific area due to beekeeping, domesticated bees and native wild bees often have to compete for the limited habitat and food sources available. European bees may become defensive in response to the seasonal arrival of competition from other colonies, particularly Africanized bees which may be on the offence and defense year round due to their tropical origin. In the United Kingdom, honey bees are known to compete with Bombus hortorum, a bumblebee species, because they forage at the same sites. To resolve the issue and maximize both their total consumption during foraging, bumblebees forage early in the morning, while honey bees forage during the afternoon.
Honey bees are known to communicate through many different chemicals and odors, as is common in insects. They also rely on a sophisticated dance language that conveys information about the distance and direction to a specific location (typically a nutritional source, e.g., flowers or water). The dance language is also used during the process of reproductive fission, or swarming, when scouts communicate the location and quality of nesting sites.
The details of the signalling being used vary from species to species; for example, the two smallest species, Apis andreniformis and A. florea, dance on the upper surface of the comb, which is horizontal (not vertical, as in other species), and worker bees orient the dance in the actual compass direction of the resource to which they are recruiting.
Apis mellifera carnica honey bees use their antennae asymmetrically for social interactions with a strong lateral preference to use their right antennae.
There has been speculation as to honeybee consciousness.