The information provided here was generated by a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America. They took the survey in January and February this year, and in the process, gathered information from 18% of the colonies in the U.S.
The survey found that about 35% of all the colonies in the U.S. died last winter. Of those that died, 71% died of natural causes, 29% from symptoms that are suspect colony collapse disorder. Doing the math that comes to at least 10% of all the bees in the U.S. last year died of Colony Collapse Disorder. I believe that is a significant number of colonies.
Unfortunately, the survey had to be conducted early on to get numbers to congress and the surveyers werent able to count the bees still under snow banks in the north. Now that the snow has mostly melted, the losses there have been found to be staggering, but its not known yet what proportion, if any, died of CCD. In any event, the losses now are estimated, by my survey this week anyway, to be, instead of 35%, closer to 44% of all the U.S. bees died last winter. Again, doing the math, that comes to 1.1 million colonies, just shy of whats needed for almond pollination next spring. Hmmmm....
This survey, conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Beltsville Bee Lab was done to not only count dead beehives, but to help determine the distribution of various bee parasites and pathogens. Preliminary results from this survey reveal:
Nosema (a gastrointestinal disease) levels tended to be higher in colonies collected from CCD-suspect apiaries
Average varroa mite-infestation levels over all sampled colonies were approaching critical levels (9.5 mites/100 bees), but levels did not differ between colonies in CCD-suspect and non-CCD suspect apiaries.
Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) was found in 9 of the 11 states sampled, and in 47% of all sampled colonies.
The last of these finding begs the question, "What should beekeepers do who are or suspect their colonies are infected with IAPV?" To answer this question a review of both published and the most current data from multiple research efforts is in order.
What is IAPV's linkage to CCD?
How many strains of IAPV exist in the US?
What happens to IAPV infected colonies?
How can IAPV be transmitted?
How widespread is IAPV in the US?
Considering all these factors, undue concern over IAPV detection is not warranted. While IAPV's role in colony losses remains a priority in ongoing research, we do know that high levels of other common bee viruses, such as KBV, DWV, and ABPV, have also been linked with certain incidences of high colony mortality or decline in worker numbers. We also know that nearly all bee colonies are infected with at least one type of virus and that all these viruses are potentially pathogenic.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.