Honey bees have been in rapid decline the past couple years and the White House is getting worried. Because honey bees and other pollinators are crucial to the U.S. food industry and economy, it’s an issue that is starting to create serious buzz.
“Pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the United States economy, of which honey bees account for more than $15 billion through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets,” the White House said.
According to President Obama, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and U.S. Department of Agriculture will work to determine why honey bees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators are dwindling. While we know pollinators of decreased because of mite infestations, pesticides and a loss of genetic diversity, conserving them will become a key focus in research as well. (The amount of managed honey bee colonies are at just 2.5 million, down from 6 million about 50 years ago.)
This isn’t the first time the White House has shown dedicated interest to honey bees. Charlie Brandt, a White House carpenter for more than 20 years, began beekeeping as a hobby…and the Obama White House quickly embraced the idea of making honey on the grounds to use in White House recipes. Brandt is now the official beekeeper of what is believed to be the first ever White House beehive. Check out the video here: