Wild Bees Are Dying and Ecosystem Collapse Will Follow—But Nobody’s Taking Notice

The humble honeybee was domesticated by humans thousands of years ago, and today it plays an important role in the world economy as a pollinator of crops.

In recent years, a significant amount of attention has been paid to the numerous threats that are facing the honeybee. But contrary to what many people believe, not all bees are in dire straits. For example, numbers of the Western honeybee—the most common of the domesticated species—in the United States have actually been rising slowly in recent years (there around 2.9 million colonies today compared with 2.5 million colonies 10 years ago, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and the species is not at risk of extinction.