Bumbles Stumble: U.S. Honey Bees Decline 42 Percent in 2014


by Tom Lutey, Billings Gazette

WASHINGTON — More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.

Since April 2014, beekeepers have lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second-highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” said study co-author Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.”

Montana losses were between 40 and 50 percent, according to the USDA. Despite those losses, the state is still ranked second in the nation for honey production at 14.26 million pounds of commercial honey last year. The state had 162,000 honey-producing colonies. Honey production was down 5 percent from 2013.

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Source:  Billings Gazette



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