Beekeepers have not been the happiest people in recent years with all of the loss taking place. This year, it seems as if they have something to smile about.
The annual beekeeping survey is out and it seems as if American honey bee colonies are doing quite well. They still had a loss, as they do every year, but it was less than average this winter, according to the Associated Press. 3,337 commercial beekeepers and backyard bee enthusiasts were considered in the study.
The survey takes place on an annual basis and this year it found that a 22.2% loss was what beekeepers in the United States experienced between October 1 and March 31. An average loss is at 28.6%.
In the winter of 2018-2019, a 37.7% loss of colonies was experienced. In the summer of 2019, the number drops slightly to 32%.
Now that the numbers have gone down last winter, it was the second smallest winter loss in the past 14 years according to the survey.
“It turned out to be a very good year,” Bee Informed Partnership scientific coordinator Nathalie Steinhauer told the AP.
Steinhauer said that the summer losses may be high numbers, but the winter losses are really what determines “the test of colony health.”
The higher death rates, however, may be part of “the new normal.”
Some beekeepers are now keeping their colonies indoors to keep them alive. Researchers have found that using a “cold storage” option helps the bees to stay alive in winter. Keith Delaplane is an entomologist with the University of Georgia, who talked about the benefits of cold storage.
The lower death rate is good news, but scientists are not getting their hopes up because the good seasons tend to be followed by bad seasons.
Since the death rate was lower in the winter, scientists still feel that the summer could be successful.
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