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
A Concord model grape vineyard with a two-tier cordon system. (Photo credit: Tom Zabadel)
Grapes
August 26, 2016
Model Vineyard Looks To Maximize Concord Production
Watching Michigan ‘‘Concord’’ grape growers struggle with stagnant and sometimes declining prices, a team of researchers at Michigan State University Read More
Organic potato grower staring at his crops
Crop Protection
August 25, 2016
Better Biocontrol Options Becoming Available To Organic Growers
New bio-based solutions to effectively control weeds and pests are cropping up. Read More
Marty McKenna and Mark Wheeler grab a photo together at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference
Citrus Achievement Award
August 25, 2016
Working Together For A Common Cause Key To Citrus Success
Cirus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna says the industry is sustained by strength in numbers. Read More
New citrus grove in Florida
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Florida Citrus Granted New Incentive To Grow On
A state-backed $5.5 million grove renovation/re-establishment program is now available and accepting applications. Read More
Judi Whitson, 2016 Florida Woman of the Year in Agriculture
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Meet Florida’s 2016 Woman Of The Year In Agriculture
Dedication to fostering the state’s farming future defines the latest winner of longtime honor. Read More
University of New Hampshire scientists constructed a linkage map of the seven chromosomes of the diploid Fragaria iinumae, which allows them to fill in a piece of the genetic puzzle about the eight sets of chromosomes of the cultivated strawberry.
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of Cultivated Strawberry
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center working in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the recipient of NPC's 2016-2017 Academic Scholarship.
Potatoes
August 24, 2016
Fifth-Year Doctoral Student Receives NPC’s Scholarship For Potato Research
The National Potato Council (NPC) has announced that Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Read More
2011 WA IFTA Tour
Fruits
August 24, 2016
Don’t Underestimate The Value Of Production Bus Tours For Your Business [Opinion]
Sure, you can see and talk with virtually anyone in the world through your smart phone, but you can’t shake their hand. Read More
Crowd protesting GMOs stock image FEATURE
Farm Management
August 24, 2016
Swaying Views On GMO Foods No Easy Task
Featured speaker for the upcoming FFVA Annual Convention says tides are slowly turning in how people digest the concept of genetic modification. Read More
A subsurface microirrigation system.
(Photo credit: Peter Jacoby)
Grapes
August 23, 2016
Deeper Irrigation Method Showing Promise For Vineyards
A new subsurface irrigation system is showing promise for slashing water usage in vineyards. Many vineyards use drip lines that Read More
The Latest
Grapes
August 26, 2016
Model Vineyard Looks To Maximize Concord…
Watching Michigan ‘‘Concord’’ grape growers struggle with stagnant and sometimes declining prices, a team of researchers at Michigan State University Read More
Crop Protection
August 25, 2016
Better Biocontrol Options Becoming Avail…
New bio-based solutions to effectively control weeds and pests are cropping up. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
August 25, 2016
Working Together For A Common Cause Key …
Cirus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna says the industry is sustained by strength in numbers. Read More
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Florida Citrus Granted New Incentive To …
A state-backed $5.5 million grove renovation/re-establishment program is now available and accepting applications. Read More
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Meet Florida’s 2016 Woman Of The Year In…
Dedication to fostering the state’s farming future defines the latest winner of longtime honor. Read More
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of …
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Potatoes
August 24, 2016
Fifth-Year Doctoral Student Receives NPC…
The National Potato Council (NPC) has announced that Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Read More
Fruits
August 24, 2016
Don’t Underestimate The Value Of P…
Sure, you can see and talk with virtually anyone in the world through your smart phone, but you can’t shake their hand. Read More
Farm Management
August 24, 2016
Swaying Views On GMO Foods No Easy Task
Featured speaker for the upcoming FFVA Annual Convention says tides are slowly turning in how people digest the concept of genetic modification. Read More
Grapes
August 23, 2016
Deeper Irrigation Method Showing Promise…
A new subsurface irrigation system is showing promise for slashing water usage in vineyards. Many vineyards use drip lines that Read More
Disease Control
August 23, 2016
Florida Sweet Corn Has New Deadly Stalke…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Fruits
August 23, 2016
New Insecticides Geared To Give Growers …
Check out three unique chemistries from several of the industry's leading crop protection suppliers. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2016
Apple Crop Forecasts Live On Twitter
You'll be able to get up-to-the-minute reports of not only the various regions of the U.S., but key production regions around the world. Read More
Oranges
August 22, 2016
Major OJ Purchase Promises Relief For Fl…
$30 million planned acquisition from USDA to be used for surplus removal. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 22, 2016
Florida Citrus Breeders Squeezed For Tim…
The pressure is on to develop a more HLB-tolerant orange. Read More
Pest Control
August 21, 2016
Spotted Wing Drosophila: For Michigan, …
Why the pest can be so much more destructive for Eastern cherry growers might be due to what they’re not farming. Read More
Grapes
August 19, 2016
European Grapevine Moth Eradicated From …
Agricultural officials confirm eradication of invasive pest, lift quarantine restrictions. Read More
Fruits
August 19, 2016
Parts Of New York Now In Extreme Drought
Water deficits starting to cause concern for fire, water shortages in the Empire State. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]