PerspectiveEcology

Conserving honey bees does not help wildlife

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Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 392-393
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2269

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Summary

There is widespread concern about the global decline in pollinators and the associated loss of pollination services. This concern is understandable given the importance of pollinators for global food security; ∼75% of all globally important crops depend to some degree on pollination, and the additional yield due to pollination adds ∼9% to the global crop production (1). These services are delivered by a plethora of species, including more than 20,000 species of bees as well as butterflies, flies, and many species of vertebrates (1). Yet, concern has focused on one species above all: the western honey bee (Apis mellifera). This is unfortunate because research shows that managed honey bees can harm wild pollinator species, providing an urgent incentive to change honey bee management practices.