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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With all the disease and pest that our bees have today, i'm thinking there are still more honey bees under human care (beekeepers) today in the US of A, than ever existed in the wild, of our past in the US of A. Who??? can prove me wrong. :mrgreen: Jack
 

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Can't prove you wrong but would venture to guess you are correct.

Look at how many farms have gone by the wayside. If each one of those farms just had a couple of hives and lost a swarm or two each year that were never caught. All of the wood lands that have been cut down, destroying many bee trees. Swarms that show up at peoples houses that get the bug spray cause they do not understand what they have.

Dang I am starting to sound like a tree hugger now :lol:
 

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I am not sure of the significance of it though some management practice schools seem to hold that the feral bees are better off genetically from having escaped the nanny state. I couldn't say but there are no feral honey bees apparent where I live so any queen rearing I do I will have to plant my own drone hives.
 

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While no proof, the number of "cultivated hives" are down significantly according to statistics.

The 2008 numbers are about 2.4 million - down from a high of 5.9 million in 1947, however this does not incude keepers with fewer than 5 hives and the older numbers probably do not take into account hives moved between states and thus counted twice , as states just gave total hives per season....but even the 2008 number is not certain.

with the growth of backyard keeping in the last 5 years, it is quite possible that overall hive numbers are indeed up.

probably a great post grad project......
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My thinking is, the honeybee was brought over by the Europeans. There isn't any record of how many colonies brought over that i know of,(probably not many) it would take many years of swarming and getting acclimated to the different climate and predators to reach the millions of colonies we have today. But what does a old dirt farmer know :confused: .What made me think of this, i read awhile back, that there are more horse's in the US of A now, than there was when they were the only transportation (before automobiles). That was hard for me to believe also. :roll: Jack
 

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one thing that is different during any introduction phase of an imported species is that the niche is open and there is no resistance to expansion. so at the introduction phase can fill an open niche quite quickly.

really the unknown in your hypothesis Jack is the number of hives in trees... + the number of africanized hives in rock ledges in the SW. I for one would expect development would have negatively impacted the feral as would varroa + all the other recent predators on the bees.

I also suspect the recent upsurge in hobby activity in bee keeping would bump my chart up somewhat. it take a lot of hobby folks with one to three hives to add much to the above chart but this is also the crowd that the numbers suggest has shown the largest decline in recent years. another negative is the number of hobby folks that utterly fail in the beginning period (I think I recall Dr Larry Conners as saying about 60% of new bee keeper experience utterly failure in their initial start up... some number he conjured up via a survey of new bee keepers in one of his ABJ articles).
 

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First, I have to mention that I know of several feral hives near where I live, they seem to be doing pretty well. But NY state has a lot of wildflowers, forests, meadows, and small diverse farms.

As we know, there were no European honeybees here at all until they brought over. This country had (and still has) thousands of species of native pollinating bees which did a fine job of pollinating before honeybees were brought in. There are several hundred species of solitary native bees in New York state alone! Some commercial fruit orchards are already looking into native orchard mason bees for pollination, and greenhouse tomato farmers sometimes hire bumblebees for pollination. Of course oneybees have the big added advantage of being able to produce large quantities of sellable honey.

Notice in that chart that the highest point of beekeeper colonies occurred around the time of WWII- when our country was in high 'self-sufficient production mode'. Even though the US has a huge agricultural industry, today we do import more and more of our food from places like China. I was stocking the shelves at our local food pantry the other day and I was surprised to see so many American brands of good old canned peas, carrots, green beans, canned tomatoes, potatoes, etc...distributed by so-and-so in the U.S., but with the tiny text at the bottom saying "Product of China".... yikes! Read the labels of the food you buy, it's eye-opening.

One has to assume that the feral bee population is way down from the 1940s if only based on the fact that we've replaced so much natural bee habitat of forests, meadows, prairie, hedgerows, and wild areas with tract housing, suburbs, highways, and mono-culture farming. I drove through the midwest this past Spring and found myself thinking "there's just no place at all that a wild bee colony could live around here".
 

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brooksbeefarm said:
My thinking is, the honeybee was brought over by the Europeans. There isn't any record of how many colonies brought over that i know of,(probably not many) there are more horse's in the US of A now, than there was when they were the only transportation (before automobiles). That was hard for me to believe also. :roll: Jack
Actually there are a number of records. If one could accumulate all the ships' manifests that include beehives, one could get a rough idea of how many colonies were brought here from Europe, when and how often. It certainly wasn't just a one time thing. And apparently it wasn't just done by the English, but may have been done by the Spanish, though there is little if any documentation.

Here's something else you might have trouble getting your head around. There are more people alive today than have ever died. Imagine that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mark, as if i don't have enough to think about. :lol: :lol: One thing i thought about, if honey bees spred as fast as the hive beetles have in the US of A, i might prove myself wrong, but shipping is alot faster now than back then :mrgreen: Jack
 

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sqkcrk said:
Here's something else you might have trouble getting your head around. There are more people alive today than have ever died. Imagine that.
Going back how far? To the Sumerians? The first appearance of **** Erectus?
You're right, I do have trouble with wrapping my head around that one.
 

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Omie, this is something I heard stated 10 or 15 years ago and can't explain. But, recently we passed the 7 trillion or was it 7 billion or what mark. That's a number most people can't imagine, only accept the existence of. Yup, all the humans that have ever lived since whenever you wish to consider we came into existence.

Here's another one. All the people in the world would fit into a cube 3 miles on a side. A friend of mine showed me the math one time. I ain't smart enuf to esplane that one either.

By the by, missed seeing you at the meeting in Syracuse. Beekeepers from NYC were there, certainly you are closer than they. The Summer Picnic is in The Mohawk Valley. See ya there?
 

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tecumseh said:
it take a lot of hobby folks with one to three hives to add much to the above chart but this is also the crowd that the numbers suggest has shown the largest decline in recent years. another negative is the number of hobby folks that utterly fail in the beginning period (I think I recall Dr Larry Conners as saying about 60% of new bee keeper experience utterly failure in their initial start up... some number he conjured up via a survey of new bee keepers in one of his ABJ articles).
It takes a heck of alot of two hivers to equal one 5,000 col commercial operation. It's hard to guess how many of them there are out there too. During the first cpl of years after I stopped being an Apiary Inspector I heard about a number of beekeepers right around here who have had bees for quite some time but who I had never heard of before. I'm not a good networker.
 

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omie writes;
There are several hundred species of solitary native bees in New York state alone!

tecumseh:
just to maintain my well earned TEXAS bragging rights the bug people tell use there are somewhere between 400 and 800 species of native bees in Texas alone. I like to somewhat rib the entomologist here when I tell them I need a number with a bit less variation than the one provided.

another Omie snip:
Notice in that chart that the highest point of beekeeper colonies occurred around the time of WWII

tecumseh:
unrecognized by some folks the term bee-haver likely was generated during this era since bee keeping would get you a draft deferment (as would raising dairy cattle). lots of small bee operation and dairies came into being during this era. the wax and honey were vital war components (used in munitions and k rations). I also suspect that the dust bowl era and the planting of vast acres of midwestern farm land to soil building plants (legumes) was a large driver in the total number of hives reported.
 

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Then a rather steady decline w/ an upwards peak in 1976(must have been because of thwe first hive I bought) and 1984 (when I left for Bee School in OH and tracheal mites were found in the US) and declining numbers ever since. Now that NY has such an impaired Apiary Inspection program and USDA isn't collecting Beekeeping Statistics, I wonder if the numbers will decline even more due to lack of credible info?
 
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