Colony Collapse Disorder On The Decline

Bee Positive

Let’s face it, honey bee colony losses in recent years have been scary and devastating, not only to the beekeeping industry, but to the entire agriculture industry. Maintaining a plentiful national food supply requires pollination by bees, so anything that limits or causes significant honey bee losses severely limits the foods available. But recent surveys have found that honey bee losses are down slightly this year, a positive development but one that researchers are cautiously optimistic about.

According to a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and USDA between September 2008 and early April 2009, honey bee losses nationwide were approximately 29% from all causes. This compares to losses of about 36% from 2007 to 2008 and 32% from 2006 to 2007.

“While the drop in losses is encouraging, the rate of loss is economically unsustainable for commercial beekeeping, as the average operational loss increased from 31% in the 2007/2008 winter season to 34% in the 2008/2009 winter.” says Jeff Pettis, research leader of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. The survey was conducted by Pettis, Dennis van Engelsdorp, president of AIA, and Jerry Hayes, AIA past president.

The survey checked on about 20% of the country’s 2.3 million honey bee colonies.

About 26% of the apiaries surveyed reported that some of their colonies died of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), down from 36% of apiaries reporting CCD as a cause in 2007-2008. CCD is characterized by the complete absence of bees in dead colonies or in apiaries. The cause of CCD is yet unknown.

Because it was an interview-based survey, the researchers were not able to differentiate between verifiable cases of CCD and colonies lost as the result of other cases that share the absence of dead bees as a symptom.

The apiaries that reported some of their colonies died without the presence of dead bees lost an average of 32% of their colonies, while beekeep-ers who reported not losing any bees with symptoms of CCD lost an average of 26% of their colonies.

Of greater concern, only 15% of all colonies lost during the 2008-2009 winter died with symptoms of CCD, compared to a 60% colony loss with CCD-like symptoms in the winter of 2007-2008; however 58% of all beekeepers reported above normal losses last year, losing a total of 33% of their colonies compared to the minority of beekeepers who claimed a normal or below normal loss of 17%.

“While losses from CCD may have decreased last winter, losses from other causes remain a significant concern,” says Pettis. “These findings emphasize the urgent need for research, not only of CCD, but of general honey bee health.”

Preventing More Losses

To strengthen the beekeeping industry, in 2008 ARS began its five-year, Areawide Research Program to Improve Honey Bee Health, Survivorship, and Pollination Availability. Pettis is coordinator of the new program.

“At the end of the five-year cycle, we’ll have specific recommendations that the beekeeper could use on how to manage bees more efficiently during long-range transport for pollination. We want to be able to transfer that technology to be used by the end-user,” says John Adamcyzk, the acting research leader for ARS’s Honey Bee Research Unit in Weslaco, TX, and head of ARS’s Beneficial Insects Research Unit, which is also in Weslaco.

For beekeepers to continue meeting growers’ pollination demands, research must solve problems caused by parasitic mites and other pests, diseases, and CCD. The areawide approach will bring together recent improvements in mite-resistant bee stocks, nutrition, and pest- and disease-management in a comprehensive management strategy.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Microscope research
Crop Protection
December 4, 2016
Bio Huma Netics Opens New Lab Facility
Facility to improve quality control and help expand product line. Read More
dynasty-dsc_2035
Vegetables
December 4, 2016
Outstanding Seed Company 2016 Vegetable Variety Showcase
For more information, contact Outstanding Seed Company, LLC: P.O. Box 202, Monaca, PA 15061 PHONE 877-248-4567; WEBSITE OutstandingSeed.com FAX 724-775-1544 Read More
Terence Robinson makes some cuts to get the big fruiting wood off of Gerry Van Oostrum's tree. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
Apples & Pears
December 4, 2016
Easy Tips For Apple Pruning Demonstration Held In Pennsylvania
Seminar to be presented in both English and Spanish by Penn State University Extension experts. Read More
This variety has beautiful orange skin with hints of red, as well as strong durable flesh. The fruit is large in size and has exceptional shipping quality, accompanied by prominent flavor. It ripens between May 20 and June 5. USPP#27,189
Fruits
December 4, 2016
Dave Wilson Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase [Slideshow]
Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman, CA, presents a new interspecific apricot, clingstone nectarine, red-speckled pluot, and more. Read More
The giant Honeycrisp apples at Burnham Orchards sell quickly
Fruits
December 3, 2016
TOMRA Acquires Compac Sorting Machine Manufacturer
Transaction to be complete in first quarter of 2017. Read More
johnnys-selected-seeds-03723-02-flaminio_cropped
More Vegetables
December 3, 2016
Johnny’s Selected Seeds 2016 Vegetable Variety Showcase
For more information, contact Johnny’s Selected Seeds: 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901 PHONE 877-564-6697; WEBSITE JohnnySeeds.com FAX 800-738-6314 Read More
Split ‘Cabernet’ grapes like the ones shown are           compromised fruit that should have been harvested before a rain storm. (Photo credit: Tremain Hatch)
Grapes
December 3, 2016
You Need To Have Flexibility In Your Vineyard
Prioritization and compromise are sometimes necessary in a challenging growing environment. Read More
This high-color sport starts to color one month earlier than its parent, Imperial Gala. It has a 100% deep-red color with a stripe. The fruit size, flavor, and quality similar to Imperial, and storage is as good as any other Gala.
Fruits
December 3, 2016
C&O Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase [Slideshow]
C&O Nursery in Wenatchee, WA, offers a Jonagold sport, an early Fuji, and a Red Delicious sport. Read More
world-pear-day
Apples & Pears
December 3, 2016
It’s A Global Celebration For World Pear Day Today
USA Pears to host sampling events in 24 countries for 24 hours of continuous pear goodness. Read More
'Sunpreme' raisin grapes drying naturally on the vine. (Photo credit: Craig Ledbetter, USDA-ARS)
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Study Investigates Savings From Naturally Drying Raisin Grapes
After two years on the market, researchers ‘discuss cost-cutting benefits of ‘Sunpreme.' Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
December 4, 2016
Bio Huma Netics Opens New Lab Facility
Facility to improve quality control and help expand product line. Read More
Vegetables
December 4, 2016
Outstanding Seed Company 2016 Vegetable …
For more information, contact Outstanding Seed Company, LLC: P.O. Box 202, Monaca, PA 15061 PHONE 877-248-4567; WEBSITE OutstandingSeed.com FAX 724-775-1544 Read More
Apples & Pears
December 4, 2016
Easy Tips For Apple Pruning Demonstratio…
Seminar to be presented in both English and Spanish by Penn State University Extension experts. Read More
Fruits
December 4, 2016
Dave Wilson Nursery 2017 Variety Showcas…
Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman, CA, presents a new interspecific apricot, clingstone nectarine, red-speckled pluot, and more. Read More
Fruits
December 3, 2016
TOMRA Acquires Compac Sorting Machine Ma…
Transaction to be complete in first quarter of 2017. Read More
More Vegetables
December 3, 2016
Johnny’s Selected Seeds 2016 Veget…
For more information, contact Johnny’s Selected Seeds: 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901 PHONE 877-564-6697; WEBSITE JohnnySeeds.com FAX 800-738-6314 Read More
Grapes
December 3, 2016
You Need To Have Flexibility In Your Vin…
Prioritization and compromise are sometimes necessary in a challenging growing environment. Read More
Fruits
December 3, 2016
C&O Nursery 2017 Variety Showcase [S…
C&O Nursery in Wenatchee, WA, offers a Jonagold sport, an early Fuji, and a Red Delicious sport. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 3, 2016
It’s A Global Celebration For World Pear…
USA Pears to host sampling events in 24 countries for 24 hours of continuous pear goodness. Read More
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Study Investigates Savings From Naturall…
After two years on the market, researchers ‘discuss cost-cutting benefits of ‘Sunpreme.' Read More
Grapes
December 2, 2016
Washington Wine Seminar Expands Format
Research-focused sessions to be held across state in conjunction with event in 2017. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 2, 2016
New Director Of Consumer Health And Med…
Organization announces Korenna Wilson to take on the role of raising consumers’ awareness of apples benefits. Read More
More Vegetables
December 2, 2016
Harris Seeds 2016 Vegetable Variety Show…
For more information, contact Harris Seeds: 355 Paul Rd., P.O. Box 24966, Rochester, NY 14624-0966 800-544-7938; WEBSITE HarrisSeeds.com FAX 877-892-9197; Read More
Stone Fruit
December 2, 2016
Managing Risks And Reward Of Going High …
The King family sees dwarfing high-density system as the future of their sweet cherry production. Read More
More Vegetables
December 2, 2016
Florida Growers, Researchers Aim To Shar…
Field day demonstrates growing potential in cole crops. Read More
Fruits
December 2, 2016
General Mills Invests $4 Million In Poll…
The food company giant, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Xerces Society announce multi-year commitment to help pollinators prosper. Read More
Fruits
December 2, 2016
The Burchell Nursery 2017 Variety Showca…
The Burchell Nursery, Inc., in Oakdale, CA, offers a new self-fertile almond, an early-season nectarine, and a late-season peach. Read More
Citrus
December 2, 2016
Citrus Survey Shows Florida Growers Are …
Growers are betting unique crop protection tools will bridge the gap to bigger HLB solutions. Read More