Bees are going extinct…but not the ones you think

– [Narrator] You’ve probably heard a few of these things about bees: they’re in danger, they’re being poisoned by pesticides, they’re spontaneously vanishing, they’re going extinct. The plight of bees has been in the news for years now. Back in 2013, Time Magazine asked as all to imagine, quote,
a world without bees. In short, whatever you’ve heard about bees in the past decade, it’s probably bad. So what is going on with bees? The truth is, they are in trouble, but maybe not the bees you’re thinking of. Without bees, humans would have a serious food problem. Some 35 percent of crops around the world benefit from pollinators like bees. Without pollinators, everything from strawberries, to chocolate, to coffee, would suffer. And of course, there’s the honey. And there’s one particular species, the Western Honey Bee, that farmers rely on all around the world. It’s also probably what you’d just call a bee. – Yeah, generally when
people think about bees, it is the Western Honey Bee. – [Narrator] This is Bernardo Nino. He’s a researcher at UC Davis. And head of R and D at
a startup called UBEESs. Bernardo’s quick to point out all the crops in America that benefit from honeybees. – Cherries, blueberries, apples, some avocados. – [Narrator] And some that we couldn’t grow at all without honeybees. – [Bernardo] Here in California, the almonds are a very important crop. And they essentially require
honeybee pollination. – [Narrator] This all
explains why it was big news, when starting in late 2006, beekeepers reported losing 30 to 90% of their colonies. For comparison, it’s normal to lose more like, 15 to 20% of colonies annually. The weirdest part is that the bees weren’t all dying, they were just flying away. It was bad enough to
warrant an official term. – Colony collapse disorder
can be described as, essentially all the adult bees, well most of the adult bees, leaving the colony. Leaving the queen, healthy looking brood, and that was part of the really stressful, and confusing part is that the bees seemed to just leave. – [Narrator] Colony
collapse disorder, or CCD, broke into the national news. – Colony collapse disorder. – Colony collapse. – Colony collapse disorder. – Colony collapse disorder
remains a mystery. – [Narrator] And for years now, we’ve all fretted about the bee-pocalypse. – Do you like to eat? Well this next story is of concern to you. – [Narrator] In the year since 2006, we’ve learned a lot about CCD. But it’s still a bit of a mystery. – [Bernardo] There’s a
lot of funding thrown at research programs. There was never any particular one thing that was defined as the cause of CCD. – [Narrator] Instead, we’ve come to better understand the stresses that bees face. For example, entire
colonies can fall victim to the varroa mite, a stubborn parasite that’s wreaked havoc on bees for decades. Certain pesticide chemicals
called neonicotinoids, can also be deadly. And viruses, poor nutrition, and habit loss can take
their toll as well. This mix of factors might be causing colony collapse disorder, but any one of them is a problem that needs addressing, regardless of CCD. So since 2006, beekeepers have upped their game to improve colony health, and it seems to be working. Numbers vary, but for
the past couple years, the number of bee colonies lost in the US, has been leveling off. – [Bernardo] The silver lining of CCD, is we were able to learn a lot about honeybee heath, and really make some great strides. – [Narrator] So problem solved? Not quite. All this news, and research and debate, concerns that one species, the Western Honeybee. And we have a lot of control over the Western Honeybee. – [Bernardo] Western
Honeybees are introduced. And so they have been domesticated, and now we treat them at a commercial level, a lot like livestock. – [Narrator] Beekeepers breed them by the millions and rent them out to farms and orchards. In some ways, they’re more like a fertilizer, than an animal. In fact, our mass production of honeybees, is the reason we have an almond industry in California. – [Bernardo] There’s a million acres of nut-bearing almonds this year, in California. Each one of those acres requires two colonies per acre, about. And so, that’s two million colonies that come out here to California just for that event. – [Narrator] For the record, there are maybe 50 thousand
bees in one colony. So two million colonies is about 100 billion bees on almond duty. But here’s what so many news reports miss. Honeybees may be doing better, but when it comes to pollination, it’s not just about honeybees. Thousand of species of wild bees are key pollinators. And other insects like wasps, butterflies, and beetles play an important role, too. Oftentimes, certain pollinators,
are just better suited to certain crops. – [Bernardo] Some of
the native pollinators get up earlier, some of them work different
aspects of the flower. So having all of them working together, ends up being more beneficial for the growers. – [Narrator] And wild pollinators are in trouble. Habitat loss, climate change, and pesticide use are threatening wild pollinators around the world. And when those numbers drop, there’s no easy fix. The honeybee population is recovering partly because beekeepers are just breeding more bees. Or buying them wholesale. – [Bernardo] You can buy packaged bees so a three pound, basically box of bees with a mated queen. Those prices range anywhere between 90 and I would say $140 dollars, depending on how many you’re ordering. – [Narrator] So what
is going on with bees? It really depends on the bee. – [Bernardo] The Western Honeybee is not in danger of extinction. There’s about two point seven million colonies in the United States. So their species is not in any sort of trouble, whereas native bees, are affected by the habitat loss and other challenges and there are species that are endangered. There are species that have become extinct. – [Narrator] Pollination supports between two and six billion dollars in global agriculture every year. Honeybees are in effort to control and optimize that process, to help feed the seven billion plus people on earth. But we clearly don’t have the control we want. Wild pollinators are proof of that. So while honeybees may
still be struggling, that’s not the same thing as being truly threatened. – [Bernardo] So when we say we need to save the bees, to me, I would say help honeybees, rather than save honeybees. – [Narrator] Hey everyone
thanks for watching and make sure to subscribe. We’ve got new videos coming out every Tuesday. And if you find yourself beekeeping, and you get a bee in your veil, don’t worry we asked
Bernardo about that too. – Turtle your neck, let it fly up, and smash it.

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56 thoughts on “Bees are going extinct…but not the ones you think

  1. What a coincidence that the bee problem started around the time that GMOs came onto the scene? Monsanto should be run out of business!

  2. As usual-public recieved no info/idea what our regulative
    governments interests are in this area of thier obligatory public funded covert opperations.

  3. I noticed over the decades a great decline in honeybee pollenators-they are replaced with a smaller version of bumblebees.

  4. The bee colonies are the reason California has an Almond Industry at all. And The Almond Industry is why you're experiencing the worst droughts in known history =)

  5. without bees there will be no plants and they will rot and without plants the animals wont be able to eat and they will die and the wild animals that hunt for food can't find anything and they will die and we won't have any meat and no nuts no coffee and wee are going to starve! oh gawd ):

  6. The "bees flying out of the screen" effect at the beginning was a clever touch. 2:15, on the other hand โ€” "That gag's got whiskers on it!" I miss the carpenter bees and bumblebees I used to see in Southern California as a kid in the '70s and '80s. Almost never see those guys anymore. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

  7. even if honey bees only pollinate 30% of what wild bees do, if there was a tripling of overall bees through increased honey farming, wouldn't almost as many plants get pollinated?

  8. We have to save the bumbles, those are the ones that are in danger and pollenate loads of plants other bees simply can't. They are also just the cutest things ever! ๐Ÿ˜€ But none of that really matters; not even how much they benefit us. What truly matters is that it's simply a really sad thing to make a species of animal extinct, and we shouldn't be going around doing that. That's the best reason why we have to save animals – as a balance against, and hopefully counter to, us destroying them.

  9. Walmart has filed a patent for robotic bees. Monsanto kills the bees then Walmart will sell us more. The wonders of capitalism ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. It is the stupid frequencies that are confusing them! Tinnitus! They are trying to get away from the high pitched sound!

  11. This is scary not because of the bees but because of war. With the decline of food will have desperate people. Loss of an important thing is a loss of humanity

  12. Bees, how to help bees?
    Maybe changing human life style (aka more nuclear plants and renewable energy sources and a diet of less food, not more veggies or meat, people eat way too much).
    Or maybe we use Science to make bees more stronger with bioengineering.
    Or maybe we advance in robotics and replace bees with artificial intelligence bees.

  13. I know bee farmers in North Dakota and during cold seasons here they send the bees to Californian almond growers.

  14. I would adore a world without Bees. I have a major phobia to the effect of jumping out of moving vehicles (several times) and during the summer I don't go outside to avoid them. The sight and sound of them are terrifying to me. I understood the need for honey bees but why do we need wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, killer bees and etc?

  15. Don't they have bumblebee boxes in America? In Europe we can buy an active bumblebee colony in a box, and you just site it in the corner of your garden (or field or orchard) and they'll bumble away pollinating your crops all spring, summer and autumn long.
    The only thing is they're nearly always Bombus terrestis, the buff-tailed bumblebee which isn't native to the USA.
    Even though bumblebees only number a few hundred per colony, a lot of farmers prefer them as they're active on warm days even in winter, and in summer they'll spend twice as many hours a day foraging as honeybees.
    Long live the bumblebees!

  16. ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿbzzz๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿbzzz๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿbzz๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿbzz๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  17. I don't think Africanized bees are in any danger either. In fact, according to another video, they've lost their aggression in Puerto Rico and can be handled like normal bees.

  18. "The neural density in the beeโ€™s brain is about 10 times higher than that in a mammalian cerebral cortex, which most of us take to be the pinnacle of evolution on this planet…"

    "So the next time a bee hovers above your breakfast toast, attracted by the sweet jam, gently shoo her away. For she might be a fellow sentient being, experiencing her brief interlude in the light, shoehorned between this moment and eternity."

    Exploring Consciousness through the Study of Bees

    Bees display a remarkable range of talentsโ€”abilities that in a mammal such as a dog we would associate with consciousness

    Christof Koch is chief scientist and president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle

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