U.S. bee numbers growing

Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim.

CNS Canada – Honeybee populations are rising in the United States, turning around a recent trend of declines attributed to a set of factors know as colony collapse disorder.

It’s estimated that 84,430 hives were lost to the disorder in the first quarter this year. That’s down 27 per cent from a year earlier.

Year-over-year losses also fell 27 per cent from April through June, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s honeybee health survey.

Overall, the number of U.S. hives increased by three per cent to 2.89 million. The study attributed the overall increase in bee numbers to due mainly to the replacement of losses.

Varroa mites, thought to be one of the key causes behind colony losses, continue to plague beekeepers with more than two-fifths saying the mites were doing damage.

Mites were reported in 42 per cent of commercial hives, down from 53 per cent in the same April-to-June period a year ago.

Beekeepers also reported that 13 per cent of colonies were being harmed by pesticides, 12 per cent by non-varroa pests and 4.3 per cent by diseases.

Starvation, bad weather and lack of forage were also listed as problems.

The annual colony loss report normally carried out by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists has not yet been released for 2017.

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