Every time I interact with my hive and see a large number of bees that belong only to my colony, I keep thinking about how many bees there are in the world. I’ve always assumed that this number must be large because the number of bees in a hive is usually large. Of course I have to find out! In this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned while trying to find out how many bees are left in the world.
How Many Bees Are Actually Left In The World?
It’s difficult to determine how many bees are left in the world because, like all wildlife species, the number fluctuates constantly. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, recent estimates suggest that there are at least 2 trillion bees in the care of beekeepers worldwide.
It’s worth noting that this 2 trillion figure only accounts for hives reported to the UN, which is almost certainly not all. This number is almost certainly higher because this number only includes reported hives.
While this number may not be entirely accurate, it is the best estimate available for the importance of bees in the world’s vast ecosystems.
How Many Bees Live In A Colony? What About A Hive?
Before trying to extrapolate how many bees are around the world, it is helpful to first know how many bees belong to one hive, and only one hive.
A hive typically has about 20,000-60,000 bees, although this number can vary widely depending on several variables, including the size of the hive. Therefore, it is impossible to infer how many bees live in a hive or colony at the same time, simply because there are so many variables and each bee organization has a different estimate of how many bees can exist in a hive. In a colony. However, if the beekeeper is efficient and dedicated to his work, the base number indicates how many bees even a single beekeeper can have. Simply put, the number matters.
Where Are Most Beehives Geographically Distributed?
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the three countries with the most beehives between 2007 and 2017 were India, mainland China and Turkey. The United States also tops the list, as do Argentina and Spain.
One of the most interesting things about beekeeping is that it can be done almost anywhere on the planet. The list of countries with the most beehives in the world is a real testament to this. Beekeeping is an important part of life in China, just like in the United States.
So Is The Bee Population Really Declining?
Simply put, no. As the media sometimes leads us to believe, the world’s bee population is not steadily decreasing. The truth is that the number of bees is fairly constant (although the number of bees present in the world at any given time is constantly fluctuating). Significantly increased, however, is the need for crop pollination, which bees are primarily responsible for.
In fact, the number of bees has grown considerably. According to journalist Katherine Harmon, the number of domesticated bees has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past five years. The information, published in 2009 by scientists Marcelo A. Aizen and Lawrence D. Harder, clearly shows that bee populations are indeed safe.
In addition to this, the pollination of crops has also greatly increased. It is estimated that the increase is more than 300%. By contrast, the number of bees has increased by 45%, and it is clear that the dilemma is not the number of bees, but the fact that the need for bees to pollinate crops has increased by so much. The real problem is that the increase in bee numbers cannot keep up with the sheer number of crops that need to be pollinated.
Why Do More And More Crops Need To Be Pollinated?
As the world’s population continues to grow exponentially, more and more people and mouths need to be fed. More and more plants need to be pollinated because more and more food needs to be produced to feed the people who eat it.
Therefore, bee populations must increase at the same rate as crop pollination, as a gap in these numbers creates a “problem”. No, the number of bees has not decreased. What’s happening is crop pollination and its demands are increasing, and these bees can’t keep up with that.
What Are The Potential Threats To The World’s Remaining Bee Populations?
Although there are still a large number of bees in the world, every beekeeper should be aware of several threats to this insect species. Some of these are unavoidable; however, they must be understood. As a beekeeper, it is beneficial to keep these potential threats in mind.
The main potential threats to bees are:
- use of pesticides
- natural enemy
- loss of habitat
- Internal problems within the hive, such as colony collapse
The first potential threat is the use of pesticides, an increasingly important threat to be vigilant against. This is because the use of pesticides has become more common as farmers try to protect their crops from harmful pests. The use of these chemicals is considered a significant threat because, although these chemicals are not sprayed as often, many of them remain in the air for long periods of time. Bees are often in contact with the flora that the pesticides come in contact with, transferring the chemicals to the bees.
Pesticides are harmful for obvious reasons. Pesticides originally developed to prevent harmful insects from damaging crops are becoming a common problem for farmers, especially in recent years when questions have been raised about their impact on the safety of their commonly used foods.
However, pesticide use is not just a problem for farmers. Beekeepers, especially those living in rural areas with a lot of commercial agriculture, should take extra care to ensure their bees don’t expose them to more pesticides than they need.
A second potential threat to bee populations is natural enemies. Everyone knows that bears love honey as much as humans (if not more)! It’s important to remember – especially if you live in the woods or the area has a lot of wildlife – to take precautions when handling your bees. It’s not uncommon for predators such as bears to skim over and potentially cause damage to the colony.
One way to avoid this problem is to try placing beehives on racks so that they are taller and less accessible to larger animals. This will prevent unwanted visitors from entering the colony and causing problems. However, these predators are part of the ecosystem and can only be guarded against to a certain extent. Natural enemies usually don’t have many long-term problems. If you find that your hive or colony is constantly being attacked by bears or other animals, it might be a good idea to relocate them as much as possible.
A third potential threat to bees is habitat loss. Since you’re raising “house bees,” they don’t have to worry about losing their habitat. Having said that, bees can’t do their job without a flora to pollinate!
The loss of flora habitat can be a very big problem for bees as their main source of pollen can be destroyed as construction and construction progresses. How important this is to your bees depends a lot on where your colony is located. For beekeepers living in rural areas, this may not be a threat at all. For others living in suburban areas (where urbanization is a possibility), the loss of habitat for the flora on which bees depend may be a bigger problem.
A fourth potential threat is Varroa mites. Because bees are animals, it is always possible that there is a parasite that is destroying the population and posing a significant threat to many bees. If so, your colony may be in danger. However, there are ways to get rid of Varroa mites. Read more about natural methods in my article – How to Get Rid of Varroa Mites Naturally?
Finally, the last potential threat is the internal problems of the hive, such as: B. Colony Collapse Disorder. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), colony collapse is “a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear, leaving only the queen bee, ample food, and a small number of nurse bees to care for the immature bees and queen bees.”
While this may seem dire, the EPA reports that in recent years it has become less of a problem than previously expected. “Previously reported cases of CCD are considered a significant long-term threat to honeybees and have decreased significantly over the past five years,” the EPA said. “From 2006 to 2007, the number of beehives that did not survive the winter,” added the Environment Agency. — An overall indicator of bee health — remained at around 28.7% on average, but dropped to 23.1% in the winter of 2014-2015.
While winter losses remain fairly high, the number of losses attributable to CCDs has declined from about 60% of all beehives lost in 2008 to 31.1% in 2013; CCDs were not mentioned in preliminary reports of losses in 2014-2015. “
While There Are Still Many Bees, They Still Need Your Care!
While it is often believed that the world’s bee population is declining, this is not the case. Although a colony may face multiple threats, overall the population is still large. But we need some effort to get it. Whether you keep bees or not, you can still help them by avoiding pesticides and having a bee-friendly garden.
If you have any questions about the remaining bee population or would like to discuss anything related to beekeeping, please share your inquiries!