Each year The Bee Informed Partnership works with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and produces one of the best reports on how managed bee colonies (not the feral ones) are doing. 6,287 beekeepers were surveyed who are running 599,610 colonies or about 22.9% of the 2.62 million colonies in the US.
While the final results are not tallied, they are now estimating that individual beekeepers said they lost 45.1% of their colonies over last winter. So, looking at each beekeeper, almost half of their colonies died – 19.8% more than last year.
Looking at the losses across all beekeepers, not just individuals, 31.1% of all managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost during the 2012/2013 winter. This is an increase of 9.2% over last year. Clearly CCD is getting worse.
Beekeepers are not shocked, but are certainly saddened. We all knew the news was going to be bad, but there was hope that somehow the anecdotal evidence we heard was going to be proved wrong.
For me, this just strengthens my resolve to raise genetically tougher queens. I can’t reverse the 31.1% losses across the country, but I can do my part to help the ones I have control over. Think Globally, Act Locally. Maybe beekeepers should adopt that mantra too.
The full report is available at http://beeinformed.org/2013/05/winter-loss-survey-2012-2013