The Ins and Outs of Honey Bee Populations
Honey bees are a part of the natural world around us, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia, but for most of the world, and especially in the U.S. and across Europe, the honey bees we see are, in fact, managed by beekeepers, very much like farmers manage pigs, sheep and cattle.
Honey bee populations can fluctuate from year to year, mainly due to a combination of factors that can impact a colony’s health. If colony populations in a given area are slightly lower this year than the previous year, that doesn’t necessarily mean the population is dying off. To understand the population dynamics, we need to look at trends over time and think about the social and economic factors that may play a part — like whether the number of beekeepers has gone down, for instance. Fewer beekeepers mean less colonies.