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Honey bees aren't native to North America at least. If they went extinct, native plants would be fine.



native species in north america don't comprise much of what people in north america eat.


Those foods are pollinated by livestock bees, not wild bees. In a livestock setting, bee colony pressures are manageable, and are an economic concern, not an existential environmental concern.


It's likely that bumblebees are equally affected.


A bit but nowhere near as much. Native bees have many advantages. They have vastly more genetic diversity and there are several species. Farmers don't transport them around the country and around the world spreading disease and parasites much faster. And their hives aren't often messed up by humans. And they are better adapted to this environment.

Honeybees are suffering from multiple problems including outbreaks of disease and parasites. Even without pesticide they would be doing bad.

Anecdotally bumble bees are a very common sight here. And I'm surrounded by fields that are sprayed often.


Bumble bees don't pollinate some plants as they are too big - their size also makes them better at pollinating other plants.


Well, sort of. Bumblebees are probably as susceptible as honeybees, but native bees will preferentially eat from native plants. If most farmers aren't spraying many native plants, the exposure will be less.


> ...but native bees will preferentially eat from native plants.

Do you have a source for how significant this factor is? I would like to believe it, but it sounds a lot like wishful thinking.


Not really; my source is a lecture at a beekeeping meetup (where the lecturers range from top academics to 'a little bit crazy'). I believe the study in question was trying to assess how honeybees, an invasive species, impacted native bee populations; the study found little impact, and attributed it to the preferential feeding. (The replanting of large swaths of America with invasive plant species, such as wheat, presumably does have an impact on native bee populations.)

I'd also note that many native bees also have a much shorter lifecycle - they will be active for a very brief time at a very specific time of the year, when their target plants are flowering, and then they lay their eggs, which will remain dormant / develop slowly for nearly the full year, to hatch again at the appropriate time. This means that you can successfully avoid killing them by timing your pesticide application to avoid flowering plants. Honeybees, on the other hand, are active year round (though confined to their hives in the winter).

A larger threat mentioned in the talk to native bees was actually global warming. Many native bees operate in narrow bands of latitude, only going so far north and south. With the increases in average temperature, we're seeing the southern border of many native bee species move north ... but for whatever reason, not the northern border. I'm not sure why that would be (maybe there are plant species they depend on which spread too slowly?), but it creates a worrisome picture of their habitat being squeezed out of existence.


Bumblebee colonies are also much smaller than honey bee colonies.


What about the non native farmed plants? And the bees that aren't native are in steeper decline than native ones because they aren't farmed.


Oh, thats okay then. Totally. Nothing to see here folks, North America is going to be JUST FINE!


Nobody said anything about honey - just bees. The only fine we should be talking about is the fine for what these people have already done. There would obviously be and has been a massive deleterious effect from the loss of so many pollinators. Monsanto's shareholders and other like minded criminals should fined out of existence as a warning to others who would seek to destroy our world for profit. Show absolutely no mercy and go after even private holdings for good measure. Change the law if needs be and act retrospectively. The world must act in concert against the cynical and greedy polluters be they corporations, individuals or states.


What % of the native plants are edible?


I'd define as "native" anything that was around before the Europeans showed up. Corn, potatoes, many kinds of beans, tomatoes. Those were all domesticated, and I don't know how you'd count them as a percentage.


Good classification... and point...

It would be interesting to know "If I were to survive 100% only on native (pre-EURO/Colonizers) food-stuffs, what would my diet look like?"


Don't forget too meat - much if the meat we eat depends upon pollenated foodstuffs - if we were to raise cattle, sheep and chickens only on grasses and local foods we'd likely have far lower heads of animals per farm and higher costs (which I'd argue for many would be a good thing, but for those who can't afford it, it would be devastating)


From what I've read, grains and soybeans are both self pollinating, so the meat supply is safe, so long as the Haber process holds out.


I found this interesting page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crop_plants_pollinated...

Looks like corn, wheat, soybeans, and potatoes, are safe. So you can still have your burger, fries, and Coke. ;-)


"Honey bees" is not usefully descriptive. Please elaborate.


Actually it is. The European, or Western, Honey Bee, Apis mellifera

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_honey_bee


Right. Even if you include all the other Apis species, none of them are native to North America.




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