We cannot blame the US beekeepers for turning to chemical control methods to keep their colonies alive. Their option was to let their colonies die and not fulfill pollination contracts. If honey bee populations were allowed to crash from the mites, what would happen to the 615,000 acres (~250,000 hectares) of almond trees in California that require bee pollination all at once? Or 1,000 acres (~400 hectares) of blueber- ries in Maine? Or, 100 acres (~40 hectares) of apples in Washington, or even 50 acres (~20 hectares) of pumpkins in Minnesota? The simple fact is that the American public would not have tolerated a reduced crop of bee-pollinated fruits and vegetables for the ten to twenty years it would have taken for the honey bee population to naturally evolve defenses against the mites and build up to pre-mite population levels. It was in the immediate interests of most people to keep our fruits and vegetables pollinated by honey bees so we could continue to purchase inexpensive, well-formed, and succulent produce.
— from managing alternative pollinators (via farmerinthedelll)