US lost 33% of bee colonies last year, and that's not a bad thing

The Bee Informed Partnership has released a new study conducted in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America, and the results are largely favorable. According to the study, beekeepers lost a bit over one-third of their bee colonies over the past year, and while that sounds like a startling number, researchers say it is the second-best figure recorded over the past seven years.

It is normal for beekeepers to lose some of their colonies throughout the year, especially in the winter months. The survey looked into the figures from more than 4900 beekeepers who collectively kept more than 363k bee colonies. Based on information they provided, Bee Informed says beekeepers in the US lost 18.1-percent of their colonies last summer and 21.1-percent over this past winter. This is in comparison to the 28.4-percent average winter loss over the past decade.

All combined, the beekeepers lost 33.2-percent of their colonies over the past year spanning from April 2016 to March 2017. The number of colonies lost were still too high versus the so-called 'acceptable winter' loss figure, as the chart above shows, though total losses throughout the year are down.

It's good news in the grand scheme of things, offering a glimmer of hope in what has largely been a worrisome decrease in US bee numbers. The figure doesn't mean such concerns are over, of course, and conservation efforts are still important. Researchers continue to investigate the issue of bee loss; potential issues include mono-crops disrupting bee habitats in vital regions, as well as climate change.

SOURCE: Bee Informed