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

Apples & PearsNew Technology Tested In Europe As Bird Repellent
November 28, 2014
Automated randomized laser system configured to keep birds away. Read More
VegetablesClifton Seed Co. Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 27, 2014
For more information, contact: Clifton Seed Co. P.O. Box 206 Faison, NC 28341 910-267-2690; fax: 910-267-2692 cliftonseed.com Read More
CitrusBe Willing To Take A ‘Wild Turkey’ Approach To Farm Fixes [Opinion]
November 27, 2014
Editor Frank Giles says Florida Grower will be stepping up to the bully pulpit in 2015 addressing topics that impact the industry the most. Read More
CitrusNew Partnership To Expand ‘Fresh From Florida’ Footprint In Taiwan
November 26, 2014
Latest deal puts exclamation point on successful Asia marketing campaign. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia OKs Asian Citrus Psyllid Insecticide
November 26, 2014
Agriphar Crop Solutions’ Micromite 80WGS is also effective on several other citrus pests. Read More
VegetablesAmerican Takii Presents Its Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 26, 2014
For more information, contact: American Takii 301 Natividad Rd. Salinas, CA 93906 831-443-4901; fax: 831-443-3976 takii.com Read More
FruitsWet December Predicted For Parched California
November 25, 2014
National Weather Service says above-normal precipitation expected; it may continue through the winter in central and southern parts of the Golden State. Read More
Apples & PearsEPA Approves Three New Moth Mating Disruption Products
November 25, 2014
Codling moth and oriental fruit moth are targeted by apple and pear growers. Read More
VegetablesSakata Hosts Annual Fall Field Trials
November 25, 2014
Growers and dealer partners gather to see new varieties at the company's South Florida field station. Read More
VegetablesStokes Seeds Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Stokes Seeds P.O. Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-263-7233; fax: 800-272-5560 stokesseeds.com Read More

The Latest

Apples & PearsNew Technology Tested In Europe As Bird Repellent
November 28, 2014
Automated randomized laser system configured to keep birds away. Read More
VegetablesClifton Seed Co. Presents Their Latest Vegetable Variet…
November 27, 2014
For more information, contact: Clifton Seed Co. P.O. Box 206 Faison, NC 28341 910-267-2690; fax: 910-267-2692 cliftonseed.com Read More
CitrusBe Willing To Take A ‘Wild Turkey’ Approach…
November 27, 2014
Editor Frank Giles says Florida Grower will be stepping up to the bully pulpit in 2015 addressing topics that impact the industry the most. Read More
CitrusNew Partnership To Expand ‘Fresh From Florida’ Foot…
November 26, 2014
Latest deal puts exclamation point on successful Asia marketing campaign. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia OKs Asian Citrus Psyllid Insecticide
November 26, 2014
Agriphar Crop Solutions’ Micromite 80WGS is also effective on several other citrus pests. Read More
VegetablesAmerican Takii Presents Its Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 26, 2014
For more information, contact: American Takii 301 Natividad Rd. Salinas, CA 93906 831-443-4901; fax: 831-443-3976 takii.com Read More
FruitsWet December Predicted For Parched California
November 25, 2014
National Weather Service says above-normal precipitation expected; it may continue through the winter in central and southern parts of the Golden State. Read More
Apples & PearsEPA Approves Three New Moth Mating Disruption Products
November 25, 2014
Codling moth and oriental fruit moth are targeted by apple and pear growers. Read More
VegetablesSakata Hosts Annual Fall Field Trials
November 25, 2014
Growers and dealer partners gather to see new varieties at the company's South Florida field station. Read More
VegetablesStokes Seeds Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Stokes Seeds P.O. Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-263-7233; fax: 800-272-5560 stokesseeds.com Read More
VegetablesAbbott & Cobb Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varie…
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Abbott & Cobb P.O. Box 307 Feasterville, PA 19053 800-245-SEED; fax:215-245-9043 abbotcobb.com Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Rupp Seeds
November 25, 2014
Check out new pumpkins weighing between 18 and 20 pounds as well as new powdery-mildew tolerant butternut squash hybrids. Read More
Food SafetyMultistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Bean Sprouts
November 25, 2014
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local officials continue to investigate the food-borne illness outbreak. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCitrus Survey: New Management Techniques Trending
November 25, 2014
Growers widen their tactical approach to survive HLB. Read More
FruitsFruitGrowerConnect Brings Buyers And Sellers Together […
November 25, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Read More
Vegetables15 Must Have Carrot Varieties [Slideshow]
November 24, 2014
Browse the slideshow for information on 13 carrot varieties to add to your collection. Read More
CitrusReasons Aplenty Florida Growers Should Feel Good Going …
November 24, 2014
Thanks to recent industry achievements, the next 12-month period is shaping up to be a year to remember --- fondly. Read More
BerriesSuspected Borer Could Be Big Bother To Florida Blueberr…
November 24, 2014
Producers warned to be on the lookout as scientists probe samples. Read More