Honeybee Colony Losses in the United States, Winter 2012-2013

By Camilla Bee, Editor

The Bee Informed Partnership annually surveys beekeepers on winter losses, and recently released preliminary information. More information may be found at http://beeinformed.org; information will also be updated as it is developed.

Learning about honeybees is a life-long endeavor. We encourage you to check into the information provided on that website as part of your continuing education.

From the press release:

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), released preliminary results for the seventh annual national survey of honeybee colony losses. For the 2012/2013 winter season, a total of 6,287 U.S. beekeepers provided validated responses. Collectively, these beekeepers managed 599,610 colonies in October 2012, representing about 22.9%1 of the country’s estimated 2.62 million colonies.

Preliminary survey results indicate that 31.1% of managed honeybee colonies in the United States were lost during the 2012/2013 winter. This represents an increase in loss of 9.2

points or 42% over the previous 2011/2012 winter’s total losses that were estimated at 21.9%. This level of loss is on par with the 6-year average total loss of 30.5%.

On average, U.S. beekeepers lost 45.1% of the colonies in their operation during the winter

of 2012/2013. This is a 19.8 point or 78.2% increase in the average operational loss compared

to the previous winter (2011/2012), which was estimated at 25.3%. The difference between average loss and total loss is explained by the respondent pool: while a majority of the respondents (95%) were backyard beekeepers, they managed a small fraction of the colonies represented in the survey (6%). For this reason total loss (which is more heavily influenced by commercial beekeeper losses) is more representative of national losses.

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