Wilson-Rich's TED Talk notes the importance of honeybees and why we should start beekeeping in urban areas. Such reasons include supporting/making better community gardens and "saving the bees". Bees also are responsible for much of our commercial crop production. With the facts Wilson-Rich provided, he seemed rather persuasive in his argument. Here's where I was skeptical. His talk sounded like a salesman selling you what seems to be a great product, even throwing you a "Oh if you do this, you can help the greater good!" The company he founded, Best Bees, supplies urban areas with beekeeping supplies. There was a marketing scheme underlying in the talk. But even after watching this I still sided with the lovable honeybees.
I also took a scroll through the comments to see what others thought of this TED Talk. Some called it bogus-- just a way to hype the whole CCD ordeal that's been looming around for the past several decades. Others praised Wilson-Rich for opening a new and positive perspective on bees. What I found most interesting were the people talking about how the trending honeybees were actually doing harm to the native bees. The comment is quoted below:
Aug 12 2012: The unfortunate beekeeping craze in North America is only adding to the demise of our native bees, and with that our struggle for food security. When non-native honeybees are moved in, native species must move out, or die, as honeybees strip all nectar - the only food - for miles around in order to store vast, unnecessary quantities for themselves. But where can the native bees go? Where else can they move to?
As previous commentors have noted, an even greater reliance on the single species of non-native honeybee not only endangers native bees, it also moves us even further down the same path of ever worsening problems in our own food supply. As support for honeybees grows, along with the demise of native bees, we are systematically destroying all our options.
It only takes a few hundred native bees to do the same work of pollination that requires tens of thousands of honeybees. Native bee species don't require expensive and extensive management by humans to survive. They don't swarm. Most of them don't sting. They don't move into roofs or walls in vast numbers necessitating expensive removals. They thrive in monoculture. And they are equipped, by nature, to survive in their natural climate.
Some forward thinking farmers in North America have begun to attract and utilize various species of the low maintenance, more efficient, and infinitely sturdier native bees into their fields for pollination - completely foregoing honeybees - by providing appropriate nesting habitats that allow them to revitalize. The rest of us also need to give serious thought to breaking with long established convention of fragile, non-native honeybees. For the sake of our food future. For our survival. Start a new and better "craze" that re-builds native bee populations. Stop supporting the campaign for even greater dependence on a single imported species that only keeps us chained to certain failure.
Which also reminds me of a previous wiki article that I glanced at.
It's a list of plants/flowers that are pollinated by bees. By that I mean bees besides honeybees. Whether or not the efficiency indicates the pollinating power of the honeybee specifically, it definitely shows that the focus on just honeybees isn't going to solve the issue magically.
I jumped on the honeybee bandwagon when I first started this project, and like many of the others who followed the whole CCD ordeal, thought only of the honeybees. Now that that false layer has been peeled off, I'd like to narrow my focus on bees native to the US. It sucks now that I hit a dead end, but it's better than working to support a phony marketing scheme.