October 20, 2017

Honey Bee Colony Loss Report for Winter 2013/2014

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the USDA and Apiary Inspectors of American have released a preliminary report on their eighth annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. Honey bees pollinate one-third of the crops grown for food in the United States.

BeeThe survey found that for the winter of 2013/2014, 23.2% of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. died. More than 65% of respondents experienced winter colony loss rates greater than the average acceptable winter mortality rate of 18.9%. However, this rate is lower than the 2012/2013 estimate of 30.5% loss.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) commented on the report. Larissa Walker, head of CFS’s pollinator campaign, said in a statement, “today’s report offers little encouragement. There is more to the story than just this one number. The reality is that the vast majority of honey bee colonies across the country are still suffering above-average winter losses and unusually high losses in the spring and summer seasons. Year round, beekeepers are fighting an uphill battle to keep their hives alive and viable.”

The numbers in the survey only represent 32% of the nation’s honey bee colonies. The numbers may have been better than expected because of a recent increase in urban beekeeping, which doesn’t reflect problems of beekeepers who live near farmland, where bees actually pollinate crops. And the fact that 20% of the honey bee colonies died during spring and summer of 2013 is troubling, because they should be thriving in those seasons.

Scientists believe that neonicotinoids, which are specific pesticides, are decimating honey bee populations. CFS filed a lawsuit last year against the EPA, seeking suspension of two of the worst neonicotinoids, and charging that the agency’s overall handling of the chemicals “has been flawed and unlawful.” CFS has also helped introduce Saving America’s Pollinators Act in Congress. You can help by signing a CFS petition to the EPA, asking them not to approve two new neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam and sulfoxaflor.

Comments

  1. Tami K. Hastings says:

    Thank you for the link to the CFS petition. I signed it and posted it on Facebook.

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