Saturday, January 03, 2009

Staggering honey bee colony losses last year

35% of honey bee colonies in the U.S. were reported totally lost last year. Don't you think that's frightening?

A new overview survey was recently published outlining the scale of honeybee colony losses in the U.S. from Fall 2007 to Spring 2008.

The authors estimate that between 750 thousand and one million honey bee colonies in the U.S. died in that time period, many from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). They speculate about numerous factors such as varroa mites, stress from constant colony relocation (use of bees for agricultural pollination is heavily industrialized, more than the layperson might expect), weather, starvation, and poor quality queens. Some kind of contagious element is hypothesized as the key factor behind CCD.

The rate of death appears to be significantly higher than in previous recorded years. It will be interesting to see whether this has an impact on food commodity prices.

Photo by autan on flickr.