NPR

Honeybees Help Farmers, But They Don't Help The Environment

Maybe honeybees get too much attention. They are agricultural animals, like sheep or cattle, and they sometimes make life harder for wild bees. In fact, the bees in true peril are the wild ones.
Wild bees impaled on pins in Nigel Raine's laboratory at the University of Guelph, in Canada. Farmed honeybees can compete with wild bees for food, making it harder for wild species to survive. Source: Dan Charles

Honeybees are amazing and adorable, and they suffer when people spray pesticides or mow down wildflowers. We've heard plenty, in recent years, about collapsing bee colonies.

So Jonas Geldmann, at the University of Cambridge, says he understands how the honeybee became a symbol of environmental conservation.

But he still doesn't like "Lots of conservation organizations are promoting local honey, and even promoting sponsorships of honeybees and that kind of stuff, and that increasingly annoyed me," he says.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readSociety
U.S. Abortion Rate Continues Long-Term Decline
The rate fell again in the most recent Guttmacher Institute survey, continuing a decline since 1980.
NPR3 min readScience
Deadly Brain Cancers Act Like 'Vampires' By Hijacking Normal Cells To Grow
Researchers say certain brain cancers tap electrical signals from healthy cells to fuel their growth. The finding could lead to treatments for deadly tumors like the one that killed Sen. John McCain.
NPR4 min readPolitics
New Mexico Unveils Plan To Give Students Free College Tuition Regardless Of Income
Calling the plan "the moonshot for higher education," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the plan could help 55,000 students attend college each year at a cost of up to $35 million.