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Beekeepers In The U.S. Lost 44% Of Their Colonies Last Year

Environment  (tags: environment, bees, pollinators, ecosystems, food, nature, wildlife, endangered, habitat, green )

- 1131 days ago -
There has been a growing voice warning of the continuing decline in pollinators across much of the western world.


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Michael O (176)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 5:43 am
By Josh L Davis

What is causing the dwindling numbers is a matter of great debate, with some citing disease and others leveling the blame firmly at the door of pesticides. But what is clear is that something is happening, and the latest report from beekeepers in the U.S. shows that honey bees are continuing to die off.

According to the figures, over the past year from April 2015 to April 2016, beekeepers lost a staggering 44 percent of their honey bee colonies. But what is really troubling is the number of hives lost during summer, when bees should be expanding their colonies and doing well as there is usually plenty of food for them to be foraging on. This year saw the number of colonies lost during the summer match those that were lost during the winter, which was 28.1 percent.

“We're now in the second year of high rates of summer loss, which is cause for serious concern,” explains Dennis vanEngelsdorp, project director for the Bee Informed Partnership, who conduct the annual survey of beekeepers in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Some winter losses are normal and expected. But the fact that beekeepers are losing bees in the summer, when bees should be at their healthiest, is quite alarming.”

The news plays into a wider picture of pollinator losses over the past few years. Despite there being some reports that the number of commercial bee colonies (that’s excluding any “backyard beekeeper" who manages fewer than 50 hives) within the U.S. is currently standing at a 20 year high, this doesn’t address the fact that beekeepers are losing almost half of their hives every year. Bumping up the number of colonies might make it seem like pollinators are doing well, but the fact is there are still underlying problems that are causing a significant rate of hive mortality.

But it is not only the honey bees that are of concern. They only account for a handful of bee species, and the bees only a fraction of all insect species that are vital for the pollination of crops. These worrying declines have led to a moratorium in Europe on the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids, as some studies suggest that they mess with pollinators', particularly bees', ability to navigate. This prevents them from returning to the hive, and subsequently leads to them dying.

This recent news, which surveyed 5,700 beekeepers from 48 states who represent about 15 percent of the estimated 2.66 million honey bee hives kept in the U.S., is worrying for another reason. After a record rate of loss between 2012 and 2013, some thought that things might have been getting better, but these results reverse any positive trend. It seems that too little is still being done to try and help save the insects on which we all rely.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 5:57 am
Shared this to spread awareness, Michael.

steve F (23)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 6:29 am
No bees is not good.....

Animae C (509)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 6:36 am

Lone F (58)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 6:52 am
According to the figures, over the past year from April 2015 to April 2016, beekeepers lost a staggering 44 percent of their honey bee colonies.
Thanks Michael!

Kathleen M (208)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 6:59 am
Sadly noted. Thx, Michael.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 10:45 am
Very very bad news. So much of our food sources will be lost if this trend continues. thx Michael

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 18, 2016, 10:06 pm
Pesticides--and altering natural life with GMOs etc.--and the sprayed from planes vaccines, diseases, fungi, and hell knows what, meant for humans. The pollution, poisons in the air and water and rain. The bees and birds are going first--and not gently. Gird your loins gang---as we are next.

Shall we continue to go down rather quietly? Europe and other nations are not---they are in protesting in solidarity. Where's America? Easily gullible and distractedly amused by the Political ruse of a "Dog and Pony Show". Even news of critical natural and manmade environmental cataclysms can't break their mesmerized state. Perhaps they think the angels of mercy or friendly aliens will descend and save what's left of Earth and all living. Thanks Michael.

Past Member (0)
Thursday May 19, 2016, 6:18 am
This means our food supply is deprived

William C (0)
Thursday May 19, 2016, 6:48 am

Scott S (14)
Thursday May 19, 2016, 6:59 am

sharon ogden (3)
Thursday May 19, 2016, 9:18 am
noted xxx

Jonathan Harper (0)
Friday May 20, 2016, 5:15 am
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