From October 2009-April 2010 managed honey bee colonies across the United States have decreased by 33.8 percent according to a survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America (IAI) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
Causes for the decline include starvation, poor weather and weak colonies trying to survive winter according to the survey. The numbers are comparable to losses suffered in the winter of 2007-2008.
Jeffrey Pettis, research leader of ARS’ Bee Research Laboratory, notes the high rate loss is worrisome especially since numbers were not obtained for summertime losses. The survey team found that 28 percent of beekeeping operations said colonies perished with dead bees present (a symptom of Colony Collapse Disorder) lost 44 percent of their colonies.
The survey was conducted based on interviews, so there was no way to compare the cases that suffered with CCD and those that had losses due to an absense of bees.
22.4 percent of America’s 2.46 million colonies were evaluated in this survey to use as a tool for honeybee producers.
See the survey here.
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