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Survey finds colonies 30 percent drop, but 'at least it is not getting worse'
Honeybee colonies in the United States reduced in number by 30 percent over the 2010-2011 winter, according to a recently released annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA).
The loss was actually lower than for the previous winter, 2009-10, which saw a 34 percent drop in honeybee populations. A 29 percent drop in 2008-9, a 36 percent loss in 2007-8, and a 32 percent decline in 2006-7 preceded the new data.
Of particular interest to the entomologists was the data on colonies that were likely lost because of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon where worker bees from a colony abruptly disappear. The beekeepers therefore experience a significant loss, but see no dead bee bodies. For this latest winter, such probable CCD losses came to 31 percent.
We averaged 10 percent winter losses before parasitic mites, around 20 percent winter loss when two parasitic mites (Varroa and tracheal mites) arrived in the 1980s, and now with CCD we are over 30 percent losses in the fall and winter."
"This does not include losses of bee colonies in the summer and spring," he added. "Some beekeepers have 50 percent of their colonies that need to be replaced each year."
Honey bees have the same basic needs as people: a safe place to live and raise offspring, an area to collect food and water, and an environment free of toxins. This was the message that I presented to a receptive group of business leaders in Ripley, Tennessee. Beekeepers understand that bees need a dry hive to protect the bees from the weather. The hive should be elevated to prevent it from flooding and to allow for air to flow around the hive. The hive must have provisions for ventilation. The hive’s honeycombs should be free of chemicals and disease spores. Places for honey bees and other pollinators to find food are becoming increasingly less common, especially in areas of industrial agriculture. The soil is often tilled to the edge of the field leaving no unplowed field margins. The result is the loss of bee forage and nesting area. Monocultural plantings of a single crop often reduce the available forage. Monoculture may lead to lower food quality due to a lack of a diversity of nutrients. Insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides in the environment as well as miticides used by beekeepers kill bees outright or build-up in the beeswax honeycomb of the bee hive. Broad-spectrum insecticides kill every insect present, including pollinators and other beneficial insects. Persistent insecticides remain in the soil for a long time and kill and weaken bees well into the future. Mixing together more than one chemical agent or increasing the strength of insecticide sprays are especially damaging to bees. I encouraged the business leaders to use their influence to help control the use of pesticides in agricultural settings, around homes and gardens, and on golf courses. Many attending were surprised that our entire luncheon was dependent upon insect pollinators with the single exception of the dinner roll
Originally posted by Highlander64
its not confined to USA
new zealand have issues as well
here in Australia, bee mites are not making news but I can tell you my parents keep bees and they have not been making honey for months (even during summer) and the bee society is quite concerned I can tell you
Originally posted by Advantage
Who knows whats going on anymore. In almost 5 decades on this planet Ive never seen with my own eyes the craziness that I have in the last 10-15 yrs with the environment and the whole world..
To breed and test a stock of hygienic, native British black honey bees, Apis mellifera mellifera, and to make this available to beekeepers to use in queen rearing and in hives.