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2017-2018 Honey Bee Colony Report
National Survey Results Are Tallied


One online source states that several parasites, pests and diseases can contribute to colony depletion, but that the most prominent enemy of honeybees is the varroa mite. This external parasite is highly reproductive and can cause devastation to honeybee colonies in a large area.

The Bee Informed Partnership, a collaboration group consisting of experts from around the country, in conjunction with research institutes from around the country, recently completed its 12th annual survey of managed bee colony loss experienced in the United States, and its territories, between April 1, 2017 and April 1, 2018.

Approximately 4,794 beekeepers of varying sizes, who manage about 176,000 colonies, responded to the survey. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that this amount represents 6.6% of the nation's 2.67 million managed honeybee colonies.

The results find that during the winter months (1 October, 2017 - 1 April, 2018) approximately 30.7% of managed colonies in the U.S. were lost, which is an increase of 9.5% over the previous year (21.2%).

However, respondents actually reported a lower colony loss during the summer months (1 April, 2017 - 1 October, 2017) than in the 2016/2017 survey. This year, respondents reported 17.1% of their colonies were lost during the summer months, whereas 18.2% of colonies were reported lost during the previous year.

For the entire survey period (April 1, 2017 - April 1, 2018), beekeepers lost an estimated 40.1% of their managed honeybee colonies. This amount is up about 7% from the previous year, but on par with most other years since 2010.

One notable trend highlighted by the survey is that the self-reported "level of acceptable winter colony loss" has increased to almost 21%, the highest it has ever been. This shows that beekeepers are more likely to expect higher rates of colony termination. Although there is a slight discrepancy because the data shows that 69% of all responders lost more of their colonies than they had deemed acceptable.

To find out more about this year's honeybee colony losses, visit the Bee Informed webpage HERE. ( The organization is also planning on releasing their first ever 10-year summary on bee colony loss in the coming months.

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October 23, 2019, 10:12 pm PDT

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