Hope for the Bees: Honeybee Population Bounces Back

by - June 23, 2020


Hope for the Bees: Honeybee Population Bounces Back

A recent survey shows that the honeybee population in the United States recorded the second smallest winter loss in 14 years, indicating a significant bounce in its total number of colonies after years of huge winter losses.

According to research firm Bee Informed Partnership, beekeepers in the US lost only 22.2% during the winter of 2019 to 2020 (October 1 to March 31).

This figure is lower than the average of 28.6% and significantly less than last year's winter loss (2018 to 2019), which recorded a staggering 37.7%.

Hope for the bees: honeybees crucial to the world's food supply

Last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO) warned that the continuing decline of bee populations pose a serious threat to global nutrition and food security.

This decline has been monitored by scientists for years.

According to José Graziano da Silva, director-general of FAO, in his message for last year's World Bee Day:

"Bees are under great threat from the combined effects of climate change, intensive agriculture, pesticides use, biodiversity loss and pollution.



"The absence of bees and other pollinators would wipe out coffee, apples, almonds, tomatoes, and cocoa to name just a few of the crops that rely on pollination. Countries need to shift to more pollinator-friendly and sustainable food policies and systems."



What this new data mean for bees

According to bee partnership scientific coordinator Nathalie Steinhauer, the overall results of this year's winter loss is good news.

She stresses that honeybee winter deaths are “really the test of colony health,” and considering the lower losses as of late, she reports that “it turned out to be a very good year.”

Keith Delaplane, an entomologist from the University of Georgia, has also surmised that US beekeepers may be taking more of their colonies indoors during the winter to help them survive—termed as "cold storage."

According to a research by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), putting honeybee colonies in "cold storage" considerably helps them survive the winter and thus lower winter deaths.

Featured image courtesy of PollyDot/Pixabay

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