Lori Zimmer

One in Three Honeybees Died Last Winter in the US

by , 05/08/13

green design, eco design, sustainable design, honey bee population, colony collapse disorder, bee Informed Partnership, Apiary Inspectors of America, bee populations, bee deathsBee photo from Shutterstock

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.

green design, eco design, sustainable design, honey bee population, colony collapse disorder, bee Informed Partnership, Apiary Inspectors of America, bee populations, bee deathsBee hive photo from Shutterstock

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

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2 Comments

  1. Johnny French August 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    This article is horrible.

    1. The article headline claims that 31% of honeybee colonies didn’t make it through the winter. Reading the article, it’s clear that the 31% figure only applies to managed colonies, and does not reflect wild, unmanaged hives. I would expect that mortality of wild hives would be far higher without such things as sugar supplements added.

    2. “The relatively mild previous winter caused a loss of only 22 percent of bee populations.” The context makes it sound like a 22% loss is perfectly fine, when in fact it is 50% higher than the 15% that beekeepers say is acceptable. So this is not a one year problem as presented, but a problem lasting at least two years and getting worse.

    3. “…the Midwestern drought in the fall, which led to higher usage of pesticides and malnourishment amongst bees…”

    Juxtaposition of unrelated facts. Higher use of pesticides is not directly due to the drought. Malnourishment is related to the drought, which caused diminished nectar flow, thus less stored honey to get through the winter.

    4. ” 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.” More juxtaposition of unrelated facts. The fact that they don’t have strong enough hives to rent out or sell honey from, is unrelated to them replacing colonies.

  2. Eddie Lutz July 24, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Africanized bees are doing fine because they gather pollen from wild, untreated flowers. If you care about bees or plan to raise them, give them an organic diet. Plant clover in your yards. Scatter the seeds everywhere via guerrilla gardening. Let them keep their honey. I wish more people cared, but looking down my street at the uniform, flowerless green lawns, I can see they don’t.

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