Honey Bees & Pollination

Up to 40% of America’s honey bees die each winter. In fact, the number of hives in the United States is now at its lowest point in the past 50 years. Critical wildlife habitat is disappearing, putting honey bees and other pollinators like monarch butterflies in serious decline – and putting our food supply at risk. The global economic cost of bee decline, including lower crop yields and increased production costs, has been estimated as high as $5.7 billion per year.

One-third of our food supply – including most fruit and vegetable crops – requires the work of a pollinator to make it to our table. As much as 80% of flowering plants – 90 different crops – require pollination by honey bees and other insects. That means 1 in 3 bites of food depend on a pollinator.

And the economic impact reaches far beyond the table. In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually. Approximately $18 billion in American agriculture relies on pollinators.

In 2009 alone, honey bees directly supported $11.7 billion of crops in the U.S., and in Canada, the value of honey bee pollination for crop production is estimated at $1.3 to 1.7 billion annually. 

Nowhere to Fly

Almost 24 million acres of grassland were converted into crop ground in the last decade, taking valuable habitat away from pollinators and other wildlife.

For example, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Lands once offered a safe haven to thousands of commercial bee hives, providing a buffer from the effects of intense agricultural practices. In 2007, CRP acres numbered 37 million; by 2014, only 24 million.


Hitting Honey Hard

US honey production is at the lowest in history – declining by 25%. Just 7 states account for 57% of the honey production in the U.S. — those states are all located within the region losing the most grassland acres.


What other foods are impacted by the honey bee decline?

Pollinators help produce some of our favorite foods:

Are honey bees the only wildlife affected?

Honey bees aren’t the only ones affected – other wildlife including monarch butterflies, pheasant, geese, quail, deer and more benefit from critical pollinator habitat rebuilding.


How can I help?

By supporting The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund, you help rebuild critical habitat for pollinators. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund has created NextGen Habitat Projects seed formulations, each a diverse mix of grasses and flowers that helps provide the ideal habitat for pollinators and wildlife – bees, butterflies, pheasant, geese, quail, deer and more. Building habitat for wildlife can be done for less than $100/acre. Make a contribution today!

For questions or more information, contact us.

“The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is the bees’ buzz! The effort is integrating the very best performing habitat solutions where they are most needed, by bringing landowners and beekeepers together in a program where everyone benefits. It’s our goal to make every available acre the best it can be. It’s truly amazing just how much difference an acre can make when the habitat is engineered for maximum productivity!”

Zac Browning, Co-owner, Browning’s Honey Co., Inc.

“This project is a unique conservation effort, targeting acres in regions where conversion to soy and corn is happening very fast. By identifying places where habitat makes the most sense, the bottom line improves for the grower, the beekeeper, the monarch, upland songbirds and game birds, honey bees and native pollinators – it’s a program that can’t lose!”

Danielle Downey, Executive Director, Project Apis m.

"The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is unique in that it has found the way to plant cost-effective pollinator habitat that establishes quickly and provides great pollinator benefits. It's the trifecta of getting great pollinator benefits onto the landscape. If we try to solve the critical problems for pollinators using the same tools and methods we have used for the last decade, we won’t be successful. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund brings new strategies, methods and partners together to save monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators, not to mention the nation’s food supply and beautiful landscapes."

Peter S. Berthelsen, Partnership Coordinator, The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund