Beekeepers struggle to stabilize population

Nearly half of US honeybee colonies died last year

US honeybee hives just went through the second-highest death rate on record. Beekeepers lost nearly half of their managed colonies. Still, using costly and labor-intensive measures to create new colonies, beekeepers are somehow going on.

A recent University of Maryland and Auburn University survey found that even though 48% of colonies were lost in the year that ended April 1, the number of United States honeybee colonies remained relatively stable.

Last year’s 48% annual loss is up from the previous year’s loss of 39% and the 12-year average of 39.6%, but it’s not as high as 2020-2021’s 50.8% mortality rate, according to the survey funded and administered by the nonprofit research group Bee Informed Partnership. Beekeepers told the surveying scientists that a 21% loss over the winter is acceptable, and more than three-fifths of beekeepers surveyed said their losses were higher than that.


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