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Letter to the editor

Emily Martin’s guest opinion, “We can do our part to save the bees” (Dec. 6) claims there are 40,000 hives currently in Utah, but that “there has been an average loss of 30 to 40 percent of the honeybee colonies every year due to climate change." At the lower 30 percent rate, that would mean there were over 1 million hives in the state in 2009.

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A 1989 Deseret News article reported that the Utah Department of Agriculture announced there were 35,000 hives in 1987. In the United States, the USDA reports that there were 2.65 million bee colonies in 1995 and 2.67 million colonies in 2017. That stability is good news, despite the fact that winter losses within managed honey bee colonies in the U.S., since 2006, have been about double the historic rate.

Martin’s conclusion that climate change is to blame for declining hives is at odds with any scientific evidence I could discover. Rather, the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder is likely complex, with contributing factors including parasites, pesticides, stress and hive management practices. Yes, we should do our part to help bees, but there is no evidence that bee colonies in Utah are declining or that climate change is to blame.

Paul Richins