This study records the fifth consecutive year that winter losses of managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in the USA have been around 30%. In April 2011, a total of 5,441 US beekeepers (an estimated 11% of total US beekeepers) responded to a survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership. Survey respondents reported that they had lost an average of 38.4% of their colonies, for a total US colony loss of 29.9% over the winter of 2010-11. One-third of respondents (all classified as backyard beekeepers, i.e. keeping fewer than 50 colonies) reported no winter loss. There was considerable variation in both the average and total loss by state. On average, beekeepers consider acceptable losses to be 13.2%, but 68% of all responding beekeepers suffered actual losses in excess of what they considered acceptable. Of beekeepers who reported losing at least one colony, manageable conditions, such as starvation and a weak condition in the fall, were the leading self-identified causes of mortality. Respondents who indicated that varroa mites (Varroa destructor), small hive beetles (Aethina tumida), poor wintering conditions, and / or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) conditions were a leading cause of mortality in their operations suffered a higher average loss than beekeepers who did not list any of these as potential causes. In a separate question, beekeepers who reported the symptom "no dead bees in hive or apiary" had significantly higher losses than those who did not report this symptom. In addition, commercial beekeepers were significantly more likely to indicate that colonies died with this symptom than either backyard or sideliner beekeepers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science