Nationwide annual honey bee colony losses. Image: Bee Informed Partnership/University of Maryland/Loretta Kuo
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Nathalie Steinhauer, Karen Rennich and their colleagues with the Bee Informed Partnership, whose latest annual survey results on honey bee colony losses are released today. Results of the survey suggest that beekeepers across the United States lost more than 40 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2014 to April 2015. While winter loss rates improved slightly compared to last year, summer losses—and consequently, total annual losses—were more severe. This is the first time summer losses have eclipsed winter losses since the survey began tracking summer losses five years ago. "We traditionally thought of winter losses as a more important indicator of health, because surviving the cold winter months is a crucial test for any bee colony," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and project director for the Bee Informed Partnership.