Former Ag Secretary John Block’s Weekly Commentary – “Honey Bees”

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

In the past 2 or 3 years, I have read (I don’t know how many articles) sounding the alarm of the dying honey bees. “Colony Collapse Disorder” will result in a shortage of food crops that rely on honey bees for pollination. We were first warned about this in 2006.

President Obama announced the “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees” earlier this year. We are losing 30% of our colonies each year. Blame it on farm chemicals. Maybe it is just a disease. What is going on?

Well, maybe there is nothing unusual going on. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have more bee colonies today than we had in 2006 – the year “Colony Collapse” first hit the headlines. The number of honey bee colonies has risen from 2.4 million to 2.7 million in the last 10 years.

Listen to this quote from the Washington Post newspaper – “The number of commercial honey-producing colonies managed by beekeepers is the highest it’s been in 20 years.” The reason colonies are up is because beekeepers are adding colonies. My neighbor just 100 yards from my back yard has a row of bee hive colonies – 15 or 20 of them.

Bee hives are not that hard or expensive to start. Just buy the bees and put them into a new bee hive. Three pounds of “packaged” bees, plus a queen, costs about $100. The Washington Post article even says that if you have a bee colony, you can split it. Then you have 2 colonies, but only 1 queen. No problem – go on-line and order a queen. She will cost about $25. Now you have 2 colonies.
We have always experienced “colony Collapse.” Although it may be worse than it used to be, no problem. We’ll just add more new bee hives. I don’t expect the cost of honey to go up because of a shortage. I’ll bet my neighbor will give me some honey.

Next week, Congress will begin their summer break. They come back after Labor Day. Then, the House is only in session 10 days and the Senate 15 days in September before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. There is a lot of legislation to be crammed into those days.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*