Report: Over 30% of Managed Honey Bee Colonies in U.S. Lost Last Winter

Posted on May 9, 2013

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has turned in a preliminary report that indicates 31.1% of managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost during the 2012/2013 winter. On average, U.S. beekeepers lost 45.1% of the colonies in their operation during the winter of 2012/2013. This is a 19.8 point or 78.2% increase in the average operational loss compared to the previous winter (2011/2012), which was estimated at 25.3%.

A Wired article there were barely enough bees to pollinate the almond crop in California in March. Dennis van Engelstorp of the University of Maryland, told Wired, "We're getting closer and closer to the point where we don't have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands."

The Wired story on the bee colony losses also notes that many of the losses from the 2012-2013 winter survey were not colony collapse disorder. Honeybees were also killed by Varroa destructor mites and drought. There are also concerns neonicotinoid pesticides are killing bees.

Chart showing percent of managed honey bee colony losses in the US  during past several winters

Image: Bee Informed Partnership