Beexploitation in social media – UPDATED

2019-07-28 11.15.10

UPDATE:  I should really have linked to Charlotte de Keyzer’s “bee-washing” site – – it’s making much the same argument in a more comprehensive and elegant way.  That’s what happens when you post blogs first thing in the morning before the (bee pollinated!) coffee has properly kicked your brain into gear…..


I am fond of new words – neologisms – and if pollinators can be included, so much the better.  For example see my recent post about autobeeography.  That refers to memoirs which focus around work or encounters with bees, of course.  So here’s a new one:  “beexploitation”.

Beexploitaton is a play on blaxpoitation of course, and refers to articles, campaigns, social media, etc., that seeks to make financial or reputational gain from making wild and unsubstantiated claims about pollinators, most often honeybees.  Here’s an egregious example that caught my eye this morning and stimulated this post:

Worryingly, this is set up by the French Government and is aimed at raising money from well meaning people to “save the bees”.  But it’s full of nonsense claims such as that bees pollinate cocoa plants to give us chocolate.  They don’t – the pollinators of cocoa are primarily, perhaps exclusively, small flies.  There are other errors too and we know that honeybees, globally, are not as important as wild pollinators for crop plants.  We need to highlight and critique this sort of rubbish because it diverts money and attention away from genuinely well thought out initiatives to conserve pollinators.

As always, I’m happy to receive comments and other examples of beexploitation.

11 thoughts on “Beexploitation in social media – UPDATED

  1. navasolanature

    Yes, it’s so easy to get caught up with beeexploitation but I guess somehow it is bees and bumblebees that do capture a public imagination, fortunately or unfortunately for other pollinators. I have been taking photos of some of our wild ones here in the South of Spain, There is often such a variety on some of the wild flowers and some so tiny. For me naming the varieties helps distinguish and see the differences but many people seem to be indifferent. I met someone at the Green Party Conference who wanted a Natural History GCSE to help understand but am not sure that is now the answer.

  2. afrenchgarden

    I think there is an international need for a pollinator influencer (this is a new word for me, I’ve just been explained what an influencer is.) I do spend a lot of time over here explaining to people that keeping bees is a bit like keeping chickens. You don’t keep chickens to save the birds. They can help, if they wish by planting trees and flowers and taking action against the inexorable increasing size of fields under cultivation brought about by destruction of hedges and woods in this area. Amelia

  3. daysontheclaise

    The one about there would be no wine without bees is nonsense too. Grapes are wind pollinated. The Insta account is very cute, clever and funny though — just a shame it can’t get its facts right.

  4. Pingback: Friday links: the evolutionary ecology of scooters, statistics > Big Data, and more | Dynamic Ecology

  5. jen3972

    I worry that the misinformation backlashes on good bee husbandry; it doesn’t have to be a commercial operation AT ALL and the fact is that often people only engage with the challenges faced by insects once they actually investigate beekeeping. I like to think of myself as a Pollinator Ambassador, but I only became that through honeybees, despite a longstanding passion for wildlife and nature.


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