Friday, May 16, 2014

Honeybee losses were less last winter, but more than 1/4 of the population still died

Honeybee populations, which have decreased about 30 percent during each of the last eight winters, lost 23.5 percent of their population during this past winter, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bees had a 30.5 percent loss during the 2012-13 winter, and losses reached as high as 36 percent in 2007 and 2008, John Schwartz reports for The New York Times.

The losses have been attributed to several factors, including disease and pesticides, but researchers have no answer about why the losses decreased during this past winter, Schwartz writes. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland, said a 23 percent loss is still high. He told Schwartz, “We’ve gone from horrible to bad.” (Bee Informed graphic: Red is the managed honey bee colonies in the survey. Blue is the average percentage of acceptable loss declared by survey participants.)

While the decrease in losses is a good sign, Jeff Pettis, the co-author of the survey, warned that “one year does not make a trend,” Schwartz writes. (Read more)

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