Honeybees are not native to the Americas. They were brought along to this continent with the immigrants and settlers who came to make a fresh beginning in this new world. Honey was their source of a sweetner.
As I consequence of the honeybees natural swarming behavior, and being free in a land of incredible floral sources and woodland habitat, the honeybees soon swarmed and spread and multiplied in the new world.
And for nearly three hundred years, "wild" honeybees (actually feral colonies of those European honeybees that swarmed on our ancestors) lived without much problem (except of course, urban and suburban sprawl, pesticides, agricultural chemicals, etc.)
And don't forget how the population of feral colonies was boosted by swarms originating from managed hives maintained by beekeepers. Haven't we all contributed to the feral population base as we've lost swarms over the years?
Then in the 1980s, two mites came on the scene, the tracheal mite and the varroa mite. Together, these two mites pretty much wiped out these feral colonies, and almost all of the managed colonies. Life for the beekeeper became, "Treat your hives with chemicals or lose your bees."
And many bees were lost.
And many beekeepers called it quits.