clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What we get wrong about saving the bees

Honeybees get a ton of attention, but they’re not the ones who need help.

Every year there are alarming headlines about honeybees in the US. Each one highlights some grim facts about the fate of these insects and the subsequent fallout: Colonies are collapsing, beekeepers are struggling, farming is at risk. The stakes are high. Honeybees are estimated to pollinate up to $15 billion worth of food in the US. It’s safe to say that without them our plates and farms would look very different. Naturally, they’ve become the face of a larger movement to “save the bees,” but the truth is … they’ll be fine.

Honeybees are domesticated animals being cared for by a billion-dollar agriculture industry. They’re so ingrained into American life that it might surprise you that they’re not even from the US — they were brought here by settlers in the 1600s. We give them a ton of attention, and the species as a whole isn’t threatened or even at risk — but other species are.

There are 20,000 other species of bees in the world — over 4,000 in the United States. They’re incredibly diverse, unique, and also important for pollination. Unfortunately, hundreds of these bee species are at risk of being lost forever, but you rarely see those headlines.

You can find this video and the entire library of Vox’s videos on YouTube.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.