The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA), conducted the 11th annual national survey of honeybee colony losses.
For the 2016-2017 winter season, 4,963 beekeepers in the U.S. provided validated survey responses. Collectively, these beekeepers managed 363,987 colonies in October 2016, representing about 13% of the country’s estimated 2.78 million managed honey producing colonies. An estimated 21.1% of colonies managed in the U.S. were lost over the 2016-2017 winter. This represents an improvement of 5.8 percentage points compared to the previous 2015-2016 winter, and is below the 10-year average total winter loss rate of 28.4%.
The Bee Informed Partnership says these figures are a preliminary analysis and a more detailed final report is being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Beekeepers not only lose colonies in winter (October to March) but also throughout summer (April to September). The 2016 summer colony loss rate was 18.1%. When all the survey results were combined, beekeepers lost 33.2% of their colonies between April 2016 and March 2017. This is the second lowest rate of annual colony loss recorded over the last seven years.