This past winter was a harsh one – particularly for bees and beekeepers across the United States. A recent survey by the Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America has shown that one in every three honey bee colonies collapsed this past winter. The staggering 31.1 percent loss is twice the percentage that beekeepers say is “acceptable” to maintain their business.
The relatively mild previous winter caused a loss of only 22 percent of bee populations. But this year’s plummet has caused beekeepers to lose a substantial amount of their hives. Of the beekeepers interviewed, a whopping seventy percent experienced a loss of 15 percent or higher, which caused most of them to go into the red.
These working honey bees not only produce honey for the nation to consume, but also are rented out to help pollinate fruit and nut crops. With the severe losses, beekeepers have been unable to rent out their colonies, or subsidize their income with honey, but instead have been using all of their profits to replace dead colonies.
Experts attribute 2012-2013’s loss to a few factors, including the Midwestern drought in the fall, which led to higher usage of pesticides and malnourishment amongst bees. Other factors are an increase in corn fields, which are of no use to bees, as well as Varroa mite infestation, which kill bees.
Via Phys Org