Bees by the numbers

Save Oregon's Bees, a project of Beyond ToxicsThe economics of the campaign to save bees from decline*

Neonicotinoid pesticides threaten pollinators, thereby jeopardizing the pollination services they provide. This threat, in turn, jeopardizes those industries that depend upon pollination services.

The economic value of pollination services is valued at $217 billion worldwide. The disappearance of insect pollinators would create economic losses totaling $66.2 billion (€50 billion) for fruit producers, another $66.2 billion (€50 billion) for vegetable producers, and $51.7 billion USD (€39 billion) for producers of edible oilseed crops. In the U.S., honey bees are responsible for at least $15 billion worth of crop pollination annually (Morse R.A. and N. Calderone. The value of honey bees as pollinators of U.S. crops in 2000. Bee Culture. The Magazine of American Beekeeping. 128(3), March 2000, 16 pp.)

The economic value of the neonicotinoid industry is estimated to be roughly €1.5 Billion ($1.9 billion USD). The 2009 earnings for major neonicotinoid manufacturers:

Bayer = €1,091,000,000 ($1,446,556,900 USD)
Syngenta = €627,000,000 ($831,339,300 USD)
Sumitomo Chemical/Bayer CropScience = €439,000,000 ($582,070,100 USD)

The economic argument for restricting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and continuing intensive study of their effect on pollinators:

Pollinators, and pollination services, are worth more economically than are neonicotinoid pesticides. Continuing to produce and use neonicotinoid pesticides, and refusing or delaying the further study of their impacts on pollinators, is not economically sound because it amounts to investing in an industry that generates less than one percent of the economic value generated by pollination services, while simultaneously weakening and destabilizing pollination services. In short, it trades a much larger value for a much smaller one.

* Based on NOTES provided by Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)

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Our own recent analysis of agricultural data (primarily via the US Dept. of Agriculture) provided a direct impact estimate for the state of Oregon of greater than $615 million per year of business activity that could be affected by the demise of pollination services by bees. That does not include losses to pollination services business, which has a reach all across the Northwest. Honey production alone is estimated to provide $4 million to Oregon business. These figures do not take into account value-added products produced from Oregon’s fruit or vegetable output dependent on bee pollination (juices, applesauce, jams, baked goods), nor products derived from bees (bees wax, etc.)

Read the fact sheet developed to show the connection between the decline of bees and the potential damaging impact to Oregon’s agriculture–and therefore to the variety of food we rely on in the grocery store.

References:

[1] Field Research on Bees Raises Concern About Low-Dose Pesticides. Erik Stokstad. Science, 30 March 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6076 p. 1555, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6076/1555.short

[2] Nicola Gallai, Jean-Michel Salles, Josef Settele, Bernard E. Vaissière: Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline. Ecological Economics (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.06.014.
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=17177

[3] Peter Jeschke, Ralf Nauen, Michael Schindler, Alfred Elbert, 2011. Overview of the Status and Global Strategy for Neonicotinoids. Journals of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59: 2897-2908. http://www.moraybeedinosaurs.co.uk/neonicotinoid/global.pdf


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Get involved today to help save the honey bee from dangerous pesticides! (Photo by Roka Walsh)

Get involved today to help save Oregon’s bees from dangerous pesticides! (Photo by Roka Walsh)

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 Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!