Photo by Dmitry Grigoriev on Unsplash
Saving the Bees
Following the CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) crisis, a great movement was started to call attention to the decline of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the US. This is where the popular slogan “save the bees” came from. But with all the heightened attention on honeybees, the colonial origin, mass industrial agricultural pollinator bee, one must ask what this phrase really means. Save which bees? What value does this phrase really uphold? What ecological system is sustained by our proposition? Many studies have found that domesticated bees used for pollination services can pass disease and parasites to wild bee populations through pollen transfer on flowers. It is also known that wild bumble bee populations are in decline across the United States. So how does a bee imported from Europe become a symbol for American agriculture and what does our concentrated conservation effort reveal about our relationship to capitalism?