Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The bees are disappearing; U.S. beekeepers lose 40% in 2014-2015

Bees have been in the news the last several years for their decreasing populations.  An annual survey of U.S. beekeepers reports that they lost, on average, 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014-April 2015.  While loss of bees during winter is not unexpected, the loss in the summer was surprising.  During the winter, beekeepers lost 23.7% of their colonies, a decrease from 23.7% the previous year.  During the summer, beekeepers reported a loss of 27.4%, up significantly from 19.8% last year.

The survey represents about 15% of the total bee colonies in the U.S., with about 6,000 beekeepers responding.  Of beekeepers with under 50 colonies ("Backyard beekeepers"), the varroa mite was majorly responsible for the decline.  However, it is unknown why commercial beekeepers had substantial losses.

varroa mite (Varroa jacobsoni) on honeybee by Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org

Source Article: U.S. beekeepers lost 40 percent of bees in 2014-15