“Did you catch the story about the swarm of 25,000 bees that had to be captured and removed (by a special police unit, no less) from the Staten Island Ferry Station in New York City?, asks Henry I. Miller, M.D., in an editorial in Issues & Insights.
“After many years of media reports about honeybees and wild bees dying off, you’d think they were nearly extinct — so what were 25,000 of them doing at a ferry terminal in one of the world’s most densely populated cities?
“Maybe they heard that New York was “all the buzz.”
“Seriously, as I will explain, wild bee populations, like their honeybee cousins, are not endangered …
“The declines observed in individual wild bee species have been ascribed to three causes: disease, habitat loss and climate change — not pesticides (including neonics) …
“There is further evidence that the “wild bee decline” narrative is just as flawed as the earlier “honeybee-pocalypse” claims. Evidence from studies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands indicate that populations of particular wild bee species once considered to be in decline are now rebounding; at least up to a certain point, it appears that changing conditions can reverse adverse trajectories for wild bee populations.
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, Calif. He was founding director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology. Follow him on Twitter at @henryimiller.