Aug 6, 2018
USDA: Jan. 1 honeybee colonies down slightly

According to data released Aug. 1, 2018, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service  (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), honeybee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on Jan. 1, 2018 totaled 2.63 million colonies, down slightly from Jan. 1, 2017.

The number of colonies in the United States on April 1, 2018 was 2.69 million colonies. During 2017, honeybee colonies on Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1 were 2.64 million, 2.69 million, 2.99 million, and 2.85 million colonies, respectively.

Honeybee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2018, was 425,000 colonies, or 16 percent. The number of colonies lost during the quarter of April through June 2018 was 270,000 , or 10 percent.

During the quarter of October through December 2017, colonies lost totaled 425,000 colonies, or 15 percent, the highest of any quarter in 2017. The quarter in 2017 with the lowest number of colonies lost was April through June, with 286 thousand colonies lost, or 11 percent.

Honeybee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2018 was 513,000 colonies. The number of colonies added during the quarter of April through June 2018 was 726,000. During the quarter of April through June 2017, 613,000 colonies were added, the highest number of honeybee colonies added for any quarter of 2017.

The quarter of October through December 2017 added 205 thousand colonies, the least number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2017.

Honeybee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2018 was 289 thousand colonies, or 11 percent. During the quarter of April through June 2018, 715 thousand colonies, or 27 percent, were renovated. The quarter in 2017 with the highest number of colonies  renovated was April through June with 763 thousand colonies renovated, or 28 percent. The quarter in 2017 with the lowest number of colonies renovated was  October through December 2017, with 214 thousand or 8 percent. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites top colony stressor for operations with five or more colonies

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters of 2017. The quarter of October through December  2017 had the highest percentage of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites at 55.3 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2018 and April through June 2018 are 40.8 percent and 53.4 percent, respectively.

Colonies lost with colony collapse disorder symptoms up 15 percent for operations with five or more colonies

Hone bee colonies lost with colony collapse disorder symptoms on operations with five or more colonies was 77,800 colonies from January through March 2018. This is a 15 percent increase from the same quarter of 2017.

Colonies lost with colony collapse disorder symptoms were reported to meet all of the following criteria: 1) Little to no build-up of dead bees in the hive or at the hive entrance 2) Rapid loss of adult honey bee population despite the presence of queen, capped brood, and food reserves 3) Absence or delayed robbing of the food reserves 4) Loss not attributable to varroa or nosema loads.

Jan. 1 honeybee colonies down 9 percent for operations with less than five colonies

Honeybee colonies for operations with less than five colonies in the United States on Jan. 1, 2017 totaled 40,000, down 9 percent from Jan. 1, 2016. During 2017, honeybee colonies on April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1 were 35,000, 43,000, and 39,000 respectively.

Honeybee colonies lost for operations with less than five colonies during the quarter of January through March 2017 was 13,500 colonies, the highest number of honeybee colonies lost during any quarter for 2017. The quarter in 2017 with the least number of colonies lost was April through June, with 4,200 colonies.

Honeybee colonies added for operations with less than five colonies during the quarter of April through June 2017 was 12,500 colonies, the highest number of honey ee colonies added during any quarter of 2017. The quarter in 2017 with the least number of colonies added was October through December, with 960 colonies.

Honeybee colonies renovated for operations with less than five colonies during the quarter of April through June 2017 was 4,400 colonies, the highest number of honeybee colonies renovated during any quarter of 2017.

The quarter in 2017 with the least number of colonies renovated was October through December, with 1,100 tcolonies.





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