Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The New Honeybee Census

May 1, 2024, 7:00 PM

A bee arrives at a hive on the roof of the Warren Rudman U.S. Court House, Friday, May 5, 2023, in ...

A bee arrives at a hive on the roof of the Warren Rudman U.S. Court House, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — So your small child slips into your bed in the middle of the night and she says “Mama, there’s a monster in my room.”

So maybe you give her warm milk or you just snuggle up and tell her it’s gonna be alright. Which is what a young mom named Ashley did.

But wow, mom was wrong.

The little girl wasn’t making it up. Inside the walls of her room, they found 50,000 honeybees.

Apparently, at first, a few bees slid in through a crack in the chimney. The bees were in there for the better part of a year.

The honey’s not bad, but they did have to tear apart the bedroom wall. In most states, you’re not allowed to spray bees to death. A beekeeper has to get the queen and the rest fall into line — as I learned last night when a New York Times columnist wrote about her similar appearance.

It was a swarm of a couple thousand in this case. But no queen. So they couldn’t be removed quickly and the answer for her was to go to a hotel.

The gentle treatment of the buzzing mass is because of the ever-shrinking honeybee population. We desperately need them to pollinate our produce and flowers, so states have passed these protection laws.

But, wait a minute, I wondered.  If we’re running out of honeybees, why are they swarming people’s homes like this?  A quick check of a federal database revealed the U.S. honeybee population is now up 31% since 2007, mostly thanks to inflation. Yeah.

More hobbyists start a side hustle selling their honey to make ends meet. And now, according to the government, they are farmers and count in the statistics. More beekeepers, more bees. But separately, The National Honey Report says — despite the invasions I told you about — the actual number of bees remains near an all-time low.

Quite the buzzkill.

Jeff Caplan is the host of Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Facebook and X. 

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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The New Honeybee Census