Dominic Pino writes for National Review Online that concerns about bee populations have been overstated.

You’ve probably seen or heard of the “Save the Bees” campaign that environmentalists have been pushing for the past several years. The idea was supposed to be that bees were dying out because of some combination of late-stage capitalism, corporate greed, and probably Republicans. If too many bees died, then it would make it harder to pollinate plants, which would kill the food supply, and everyone would die. Environmentalist predictions usually start and end at the same places (“late-stage capitalism, corporate greed, and Republicans” -> “everyone dies”) with only the mechanism connecting them changing.

The mechanism this time was the bees, and to prevent everyone from dying, we were supposed to plant a bunch of flowers. So Congress included a bee welfare program in the 2022 end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill to fund the planting of wildflowers along highways. It allocated $3 million to “carry out the Pollinator-Friendly Practices on Roadsides and Highway Rights-of-Way Program,” which had previously been given $2 million in the bipartisan infrastructure law in 2021.

Insufficient wildflowers was never the bees’ problem. Honeybees are a domesticated species, and they are regulated as agriculture. Farmers pay beekeepers to pollinate their crops, so beekeepers have a profit motive to make sure their bees flourish.

As Richard Morrison of the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, capitalism has been great for the bees. There was a real problem that beekeepers were facing. A parasitic mite was killing bees and spreading through about half of U.S. bee colonies. Beekeepers and scientists responded by researching better pesticides and selectively breeding bees that were resistant to the mites.

The problem was especially bad from 2007 to 2010, but things improved. Morrison was writing about a recent Washington Post article on the rebound in bee colonies. “This week’s Post story about bee populations suddenly being healthy again was great news, but not exactly new news,” he writes. “It turns out the Post itself featured oddly similar coverage almost nine years ago.” That article also concluded that the bee-population collapse was essentially solved in 2015.