It’s not like honey bees are having any problems, right? Wait…
The USDA announced on July 1st that it will be suspending its only program dedicated to tracking populations of honey bees.
The program, which assembles the annual Honey Bee Colonies Report, tracks losses, movements, and additions among the country’s honey bee populations. Under the Obama administration, the report grew in size, including a Colony Loss Survey. Under the Trump administration, it’s been abruptly canceled.
The plight of honey bees should not be new information to anyone, but just to refresh on the latest updates, bee colony losses this year ranked as the worst in 13 straight years. With several industries, including fruits and nuts, directly depending on honey bee pollination, it’s vital to track what’s going on with the bees.
The Trump administration has not made this a priority; as Bloomberg notes, it was only a few weeks ago that Trump’s EPA announced an “emergency exemption” to use a pesticide known to kill bees. The Trump administration has also attempted to roll back bans on neonicotinoid pesticides, commonly linked to honey bee colony collapse.
The reasoning given by the USDA for the suspension of the Honey Bee Colonies Report is…it costs money. From the release: “The decision to suspend data collection was not made lightly but was necessary given available fiscal and program resources.” A USDA spokesperson told CNN that the suspension was temporary, but did not have any information as to when the report might actually come back.