From Dr. Mercola:
U.S. bees are in trouble, and, if the latest figures are any indication, the problem is getting worse instead of better.
The preliminary results on bee colony losses from 2015 to 2016 were released by The Bee Informed Partnership in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).1
The survey included responses from nearly 6,000 U.S. beekeepers managing about 15 percent of the estimated 2.66 million managed honey-producing colonies in the U.S.
Over the 2015 to 2016 winter, more than 28 percent of the bee colonies were lost — an increase of nearly 6 percent compared to the previous winter.
Further, more than half of the beekeepers reported winter colony loss rates that were greater than the average “acceptable” winter mortality rate, which is just under 17 percent.
Bee Losses Occur Year-Round, Not Just During the Winter
In addition to what were described as “unsustainable” bee colony losses during the winter were losses that occurred during the spring and summer months. It was long assumed that such losses only occurred during the winter, such that — up until six years ago — no one even kept track of annual losses.
Now, however, it’s apparent that bee colonies aren’t only at risk during the winter and losses are occurring year-round. The featured survey revealed beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies from April 2015 to March 2016, which is the highest annual loss on record.2
Dennis VanEngelsdorp, Ph.D., a University of Maryland bee scientist and survey leader, told The Guardian:3
“It’s very troubling and what really concerns me that we are losing colonies in summer too, when bees should be doing so well This suggests there is something more going on — bees may be the canary in the coalmine of bigger environmental problems.
One in 3 bites of food we eat is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees. If we want to produce apples, cucumbers, almonds, blueberries and lots of other types of food, we need a functioning pollination system.”
Beekeepers Resort to Mail-Order Queen Bees to Save Their Colonies
There is only one queen bee per hive, and her job is, in part, to lay lots of eggs to keep the colony thriving. Without a queen bee, the colony cannot survive, and there are now queen bee producers in the U.S. that sell queen bees to beekeepers trying to save their queenless hives.
It’s a sign of just how desperate the beekeeping industry has become. In The Guardian, VanEngelsdorp continued:4
“We are seeing greater cost pressures to pollinate crops. It costs around $200 a year to keep a colony alive and replace a queen. You’re lucky if you make $200 a year through the honey produced, so a lot of operators aren’t even breaking even. There are a lot who are really hurting.”
The USDA considers 18.7 percent to be the benchmark beyond which the bee losses become economically unsustainable. The