- Honeybees were first introduced to North America in the 1600's by Europeans. They have been a valuable resource to humans, making honey, beeswax, propolis, and more from the various resources collected from plants and flowers. To many of us, we look at bees and think of the black and yellow honey-making insects that buzz around flowers and have the ability to sting you. This is an inaccurate representation of bees as there are many bees who don't sting, don't make honey, don't live in a hive up in a tree, and are not black and yellow. Many of those bees are the native bees of the US, and are the ones doing most of the pollinating work. There's about 4,000 different type of native bee species. Bumblebees and Carpenter bees are just few of the many. Compared to the native bees, honeybees are less efficient in pollinating certain flowers because of how they collect and distribute the pollen from flower to flower.
- Within the past several years, Colony Collapse Disorder has been affecting many honeybees across America, affecting the pollination of many of the crops we see in our local supermarkets. While the cause of this isn't apparent, many have pointed towards pesticides/fungicides, parasites, and poor beekeeping. It may seem like a ecological issue at first but it's also a social issue as well. Colony Collapse Disorder has caused quite a stir in the media as well as in the beekeeping industry, raising awareness and interest in the general public. Professional beekeepers/suppliers have taken advantage of this and began to coax newcomers into starting honeybee hives to help pollinate the land. What they are not aware of is the impact towards the bees in the native area. Introducing honeybees can lead to native bees leaving their habitats, acting like an invasive species. This underlying issue can change, but it will require a lot of effort, especially when there's a large amount of honeybee beekeepers across the US.
- Ignorance of the native bees for honeybees will eventually lead to their downfall, ultimately disrupting many of the crops grown here in the US. It will affect a multitude of things. Without a bountiful population of producers (plants/flowers) the food chain would be disrupted, affecting the ecosystem. Animals that we kill from meats would be affected. This may result in a decrease in quality, affecting the prices of the food when we buy them from the supermarket. Imagine looking for some good looking and tasting apples. Without bees, that may not be the case anymore. Solving this issue is difficult, as there are multiple approaches towards it. It will cost a lot of money, energy, and people to do so.
- The smaller steps can be easily taken, and that is to spread word of native bees, even ordering kits to house and raise them in your backyard. Work your way from family, friends, to the community. What gets harder is to educate the mass on the importance of native bees, and how they differ from the honeybee. People who should be involved in this are professionals who have extensive knowledge on native bees and who have written credible papers on them, cooperative media outlets, native bee suppliers, and native bee researchers. However, this list is not limited to just those people and may involve more.