Survey Sees Biggest US Honeybee Winter Die-off Yet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Survey Sees Biggest US Honeybee Winter Die-off Yet

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

WASHINGTON (AP)- Winter hit U.S. honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet, an annual survey of beekeepers showed.           

The annual nationwide survey by the Bee Informed Partnership found 37.7% of honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss.           

The survey of nearly 4,700 beekeepers managing more than 300,000 colonies goes back 13 years and is conducted by bee experts at the University of Maryland, Auburn University and several other colleges.           

Beekeepers had been seeing fewer winter colony losses in recent years until now, said Maryland's Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the bee partnership and co-author of Wednesday's survey.           

"The fact that we suddenly had the worst winter we've had ... is troubling," vanEngelsdorp said.           

Some bees usually die over winter, but until the past couple decades, when a combination of problems struck colonies, losses rarely exceeded 10%, he said.           

Bees pollinate $15 billion worth of U.S. food crops. One-third of the human diet comes from pollinators, including native wild bees and other animals, many of which are also in trouble, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.           

"We should be concerned on multiple levels," said University of California, Berkeley, agricultural social scientist Jennie Durant, who has a separate study this week on loss of food supply for bees.           

Year-to-year bee colony losses, which include calculations for summer, were 40.7%, higher than normal, but not a record high, the survey found.           

"The beekeepers are working harder than ever to manage colonies but we still lose 40-50% each year... unacceptable," Swiss bee expert Jeff Pettis, who wasn't part of the survey, said in an email.           

For more than a decade, bees have been in trouble with scientists blaming mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food.           

This past winter's steep drop seems heavily connected to the mites, vanEngelsdorp said. Beekeepers report that chemicals that kill mites don't seem to be working quite as well and mite infestation is worsening, he said. Those mites feed on the bees' fats and that's where the insects store protein and center their immune response.           

Durant's study in this week's journal Land Use Policy found that changes in food supply in the Midwest's Prairie Pothole Region, a hot spot for honeybee colonies, has been a major factor in losses. That area has lost wetland areas with clover bees feed on.           

Other areas have been converted to corn and soy crops, which don't feed bees, she said.           

As bad as the survey numbers are, vanEngelsdorp said, "We're not really worried about honeybees going extinct... I'm more worried that the commercial beekeepers will go out of business."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Facial Reconstruction Images Released of Unknown Child Found Dead in Smyrna

    Facial Reconstruction Images Released of Unknown Child Found Dead in Smyrna

    Monday, November 18 2019 10:51 AM EST2019-11-18 15:51:03 GMT
    Monday, November 18 2019 3:58 PM EST2019-11-18 20:58:15 GMT
    Facial reconstruction images of what the child might have looked like.  Facial reconstruction images of what the child might have looked like.
    Facial reconstruction images of what the child might have looked like.Facial reconstruction images of what the child might have looked like.
    Investigators said Monday that they are hoping facial reconstruction images will help them identify a girl whose remains were found in Smyrna back in September.More
    Investigators said Monday that they are hoping facial reconstruction images will help them identify a girl whose remains were found in Smyrna back in September.More
  • Salisbury Bypass Construction Frustrates Drivers

    Salisbury Bypass Construction Frustrates Drivers

    Tuesday, November 19 2019 12:10 AM EST2019-11-19 05:10:44 GMT
    Tuesday, November 19 2019 12:10 AM EST2019-11-19 05:10:44 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md-If you've driven along the Salisbury Bypass in Wicomico County recently--you've probably seen bright orange cones and construction signs. This is because the Maryland State Highway Administration is resurfacing resurfacing about 1.5 miles ofMore
    SALISBURY, Md-If you've driven along the Salisbury Bypass in Wicomico County recently--you've probably seen bright orange cones and construction signs. This is because the Maryland State Highway Administration is resurfacing resurfacing about 1.5 miles ofMore
  • Bethany Beach Feels Effects of Nor'easter

    Bethany Beach Feels Effects of Nor'easter

    Monday, November 18 2019 6:38 PM EST2019-11-18 23:38:05 GMT
    Monday, November 18 2019 7:28 PM EST2019-11-19 00:28:40 GMT
    On Monday Delaware's coastal towns were still feeling the effects of the nor'easter that came up the coast over the weekend. Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island were last replenished in the summer of 2018.More
    On Monday Delaware's coastal towns were still feeling the effects of the nor'easter that came up the coast over the weekend. Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island were last replenished in the summer of 2018.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Coastal Storm Impacts in Rehoboth Beach

    Coastal Storm Impacts in Rehoboth Beach

    Delmarva's beach towns are taking a beating as a coastal storm continues to move offshore.

    Heavy surf continued to pound the shore in Rehoboth Beach Monday morning. Erosion was also visible in some places, with sand cliffs forming as sand is pulled away by the water.

    More

    Delmarva's beach towns are taking a beating as a coastal storm continues to move offshore.

    Heavy surf continued to pound the shore in Rehoboth Beach Monday morning. Erosion was also visible in some places, with sand cliffs forming as sand is pulled away by the water.

    More
  • Researchers May Have Found the Cause of Parkinson's Disease

    Researchers May Have Found the Cause of Parkinson's Disease

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins injected a nerve killing protein into the guts of healthy mice and over the course of 10 months the protein started to build and travel to the brain. The study suggests blocking the transmission route could keep the disease from progressing.

    More

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins injected a nerve killing protein into the guts of healthy mice and over the course of 10 months the protein started to build and travel to the brain. The study suggests blocking the transmission route could keep the disease from progressing.

    More
  • UPDATED: Berlin Teen Faces Life in Prison in Other Teen's Murder

    UPDATED: Berlin Teen Faces Life in Prison in Other Teen's Murder

    Vershawn Hudson-CrawfordVershawn Hudson-Crawford
    Vershawn Hudson-CrawfordVershawn Hudson-Crawford

    A Berlin teenager, charged with the murder of another, could spend his life behind bars.

    Vershawn Hudson-Crawford, 16, is accused of killing 17-year-old Dehaven Nichols. He's being tried as an adult.

    More

    A Berlin teenager, charged with the murder of another, could spend his life behind bars.

    Vershawn Hudson-Crawford, 16, is accused of killing 17-year-old Dehaven Nichols. He's being tried as an adult.

    More
  • Maryland NewsMaryland NewsMore>>

  • Salisbury Bypass Construction Frustrates Drivers

    Salisbury Bypass Construction Frustrates Drivers

    Tuesday, November 19 2019 12:10 AM EST2019-11-19 05:10:44 GMT
    Tuesday, November 19 2019 12:10 AM EST2019-11-19 05:10:44 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md-If you've driven along the Salisbury Bypass in Wicomico County recently--you've probably seen bright orange cones and construction signs. This is because the Maryland State Highway Administration is resurfacing resurfacing about 1.5 miles ofMore
    SALISBURY, Md-If you've driven along the Salisbury Bypass in Wicomico County recently--you've probably seen bright orange cones and construction signs. This is because the Maryland State Highway Administration is resurfacing resurfacing about 1.5 miles ofMore
  • Water Shutoff Scheduled for Overnight Wednesday in Crisfield

    Water Shutoff Scheduled for Overnight Wednesday in Crisfield

    Monday, November 18 2019 2:24 PM EST2019-11-18 19:24:23 GMT
    Monday, November 18 2019 3:19 PM EST2019-11-18 20:19:14 GMT
    In order to complete repairs to a major city water main line in Crisfield, officials say it will be necessary to once again turn off all water service in the city's water service area for several hours, beginning late Wednesday night.More
    In order to complete repairs to a major city water main line in Crisfield, officials say it will be necessary to once again turn off all water service in the city's water service area for several hours, beginning late Wednesday night. 
    More
  • West OC Woman Goes to Prison for Fentanyl Distribution

    West OC Woman Goes to Prison for Fentanyl Distribution

    Monday, November 18 2019 1:49 PM EST2019-11-18 18:49:04 GMT
    Monday, November 18 2019 1:49 PM EST2019-11-18 18:49:04 GMT
    Elizbeth ReddingElizbeth Redding
    Elizbeth ReddingElizbeth Redding
    A West Ocean City woman has been sentenced to prison after being convicted of distributing the opioid painkiller fentanyl, which authorities say led to her boyfriend's fatal overdose.More
    A West Ocean City woman has been sentenced to prison after being convicted of distributing the opioid painkiller fentanyl, which authorities say led to her boyfriend's fatal overdose. More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices