The Plight of the Honey Bee
The central question of this reports asks, “What is the future of U.S. honey bee populations as they relate to trends and changes in food demand, farmland acreage, urban land development, pesticide usage, and the organic movement?” To assess this question, this report first identifies a dependent variable that accurately reflects declining honey bee populations: the number of total U.S. honey bee colonies. This report then identifies five independent variables which will drive the future direction of the dependent variable: food demand, farmland acreage, urban land development, pesticide usage, and the organic movement. Following these steps, this report runs regression analyses on historical data for each of the independent variables to project the future direction of each. Finally, this report analyzes the aggregate effect of the changes in the independent variable to project the future direction of the dependent variable.
The baseline projections from this analysis indicate that in the future, food demand will increase significantly; farmland acreage will decrease slowly as urbanization rapidly expands; pesticide usage will steadily increase; and the organic movement will increase tremendously. If no action is taken by legislators pressured by the organic movement, the cumulative effect of these changes will be decreasing honey bee colony numbers in the United States, and as a result, a continuing decline in the number of honey bees.