TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Honey is not only tasty. It sweetens our economy, generating nearly $20 million in Florida alone. This doesn’t even include other products that bees pollinate. But these industries are abuzz about the future for bees.
The latest Florida TaxWatch Economic Commentary reports that the United States’s bee population has fallen from about 6 million colonies in the 1947 to just 2.5 million today. Because more than a third of the world’s diet relies on pollinated crops, this dramatic population decline has already stung the food supply chain.
The decline in the population has raised the cost of food across the world. For example, thanks to the increased cost to rent bee hives in the United State to pollinate and produce almonds, the price of the nut has jumped from about $1.57 a pound as early as 2003 to about $4 a pound in 2014.
Despite the bleak outlook, there are efforts to repopulate the world with bees and Florida is leading the charge. With funding from the Legislature, the University of Florida is building a state-of-art laboratory and research facility dedicated to studying and creating new beekeeping techniques. At the federal level, the President has called for $50 million to be used to study the bee population decline and the government has also established the Pollinator Health Task Force that aims to help officials better understand, prevent and recover from this decline.
“It is crucial for our economy that the bee population is healthy and prosperous. The honey bee contributes more than $15 billion toward the U.S. economy every year,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Luckily, Florida has top flight researchers that are working to save the bee population and ensure that our agriculture industry continues to move forward.”
“As the population of bees continues to dwindle, it is imperative that we allocate resources to finding a solution to this problem. Without bees, our world would be dramatically changed and not for the better,” said Florida State Beekeeper Association President Tony Hogg. “We at the Florida State Beekeeper Association thank Florida TaxWatch for putting a spotlight on this problem and for highlighting the honey bee research and education lab at the University of Florida in their report.”
For the full report, click here.