The U.S. has added almost a million honeybee colonies in the last five years, pushing the bee population to an all-time high, government data indicates.

But skeptics of data from the new Census of Agriculture told The Washington Post that inflation and the murky definition of what is really considered a bee colony in the first place mean the buzz over the bee population could be overstated. The annual honey report actually shows a dip in colonies in the U.S., and “the census shows the number of operations with any bee colonies has ascended far faster than honey production or bee-colony counts — about 160 percent since 2007.”

What is considered a honeybee colony?

The agriculture census counts operations that produce at least $1,000 of products a year as colonies, Axios reported. This means some hobbyists could be counted toward the colony number.

Agricultural policies in Texas could also be painting a rosier picture of the bee population than what the reality is.

According to the Post, Texas has gone from No. 6 in bee operations in the U.S. to “being so far ahead of anyone else that it out-bees the bottom 21 states combined.” Agriculture tax breaks for farmers who keep bees on their land plots of five to 20 acres for five years has led to the “bee boom” in Texas.

“It’s crazy, the blanket of bees over these counties!” Gary Barber, who runs a firm called Honey Bee Unlimited, told the Post. “Honestly, it’s not bee country: You’re not going to make it like a traditional beekeeper. But it’s really great because … now we’ve got pollinators all around!”

Barber’s firm leases and runs 1,500 hives for 170 clients north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The bee policy in Texas is great for landowners and leads to more pollination, but it does mean the census data is a “purveyor of weird truth,” the Post reported.

Inflation and the bee population

Due to inflation, the bee population could look “artificially high,” according to Axios.

The Agriculture Department’s $1,000 farm definition has stayed the same since 1975. Back then, you could buy a lot more honey, and hive prices were much cheaper, so more and more bee hobbyists will “magically transmogrify” into “farmers” because of inflation, the Post reported.

The high price of honey is also cause for skepticism.

“Given less-than-ideal recent honey prices, major producers shouldn’t have much incentive to expand their operations,” the Post’s report read.

Census clashes with recent doom over bees

For a long time, the conversation over bee colonies was less positive than the buzz the Census of Agriculture has prompted, according to Axios.

“Unusually high hive losses in the early 2000s ignited fears that the domesticated western honey bee, an integral part of the world’s food system, was headed for widespread population collapse from pesticide, climate change and invasive mites,” Axios’ report read.

An annual bee survey reported on last year found that beekeepers had lost nearly half of their colonies, according to The Associated Press.