Uptrend in global managed honey bee colonies and production based on a six-decade viewpoint, 1961–2017
Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 21298 (2022)
We conducted a retrospective study to examine the long-term trends for the global honey bee population and its two main products: honey and beeswax. Our analysis was based on the data collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations from 1961 to 2017. During this period, there were increases in the number of managed honey bee colonies (85.0%), honey production (181.0%) and beeswax production (116.0%). The amount of honey produced per colony increased by 45.0%, signifying improvements in the efficiency for producing honey. Concurrently, the human population grew by 144.0%. Whilst the absolute number of managed colonies increased globally, the number per capita declined by 19.9% from 13.6 colonies per 1000 population in 1961 to 10.9 colonies per 1000 population in 2017. Beeswax had a similar trend as the global production per capita reduced by 8.5% from 8.2 to 7.5 kg per 1000 population. In contrast, the global honey production per capita increased by 42.9% at the global level. The global human population growth outpaced that of managed honey bee colonies. Continuation of this trend raises the possibility of having a shortfall of pollinators to meet the increasing consumer demand for pollinated crops. To mitigate these challenges locally driven solutions will be key as influencing factors differed geographically.
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