Thanks to over 4,900 beekeepers this year, we have been able to track and record the loss and management practices of beekeepers for the 2016-2017 season, our 11th consecutive year. Thank you to all who have participated!
For preliminary loss survey results, please see below.
Honey Bee Colony Losses 2016-2017: Preliminary Results
Note: This is a preliminary analysis. Sample sizes and estimates are likely to change. A more detailed final report is being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date.
Nathalie Steinhauer1, Karen Rennich1, Dewey M. Caron2, James D. Ellis3, Phoebe Koenig4, Kelly Kulhanek1, John Klepps3, Katie Lee4, Meghan Milbrath5, Juliana Rangel6, Robyn Rose7, Ramesh Sagili2, Ben Sallmann8, John Skinner9, Rob Snyder8, Ellen Topitzhofer2, James T. Wilkes9, Michael E. Wilson10, Geoffrey R. Williams11, Dan Wyns5, Dennis vanEngelsdorp*1
Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 2Departmentt of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331; 3Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620; 4Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; 5Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, MI 48824; 6Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843; 7USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Riverdale, MD 20737, 8UCCE, Butte County, Chico, CA 95965; 9Department of Entomology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996; 10Department of Computer Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608; 11Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849 *Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bee Informed Partnership (https://beeinformed.org), in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA), conducted the eleventh annual national survey of honey bee colony losses.
For the 2016-2017 winter season, 4,963 beekeepers in the United States provided validated survey responses. Collectively, these beekeepers managed 363,987 colonies in October 2016, representing about 13% of the country’s estimated 2.78 million managed honey producing colonies1. An estimated 21.1% of colonies managed in the United States were lost over the 2016-2017 winter. This represents an improvement of 5.8 percentage points compared to the previous 2015-2016 winter, and is below the 10-year average total winter loss rate of 28.4% (Figure 1).
Beekeepers not only lose colonies in winter (October – March) but also throughout summer (April – September). The 2016 summer colony loss rate was 18.1%. When all the survey results were combined, beekeepers lost 33.2% of their colonies between April 2016 and March 2017. This is the second lowest rate of annual colony loss recorded over the last seven years.
Figure 1: Summary of total overwintering colony losses in the United States across eleven years of conducting the winter loss survey (yellow bars; October 1 – April 1) and across six years of conducting the summer (April 1 – October 1) and annual loss survey. Total annual loss values (orange bars) include total winter and total summer losses. The acceptable winter loss rate (grey bars) is the average percentage of acceptable yearly colony losses declared by the survey participants in each year of the survey.
This survey was conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership Inc.
1 Based on 2016 NASS Honey Report figures (published 2017).
2 Previous survey results found total winter colony loss values of 27% in the winter of 2015/2016, 22% in 2014/15, 24% in 2013/2014, 30% in 2012/2013, 22% in 2011/2012, 30% in 2010/2011, 32% in 2009/2010, 29% in 2008/2009, 36% in 2007/2008, and 32% in 2006/2007 (see reference list).
Kulhanek, K; Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Caron, DM; Sagili, RR; Pettis, JS; Ellis, JD; Wilson, ME; Wilkes, JT; Tarpy, DR; Rose, R; Lee, K; Rangel, J; vanEngelsdorp, D (in review) A national survey of managed honey bee 2015-2016 annual colony losses in the USA. Journal of Apicultural Research.
Seitz, N; Traynor, KS; Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Wilson, ME; Ellis, JD; Rose, R; Tarpy, DR; Sagili, RR; Caron, DM; Delaplane, KS; Rangel, J; Lee, K; Baylis, K; Wilkes, JT; Skinner, JA; Pettis, JS; vanEngelsdorp, D (2016) A national survey of managed honey bee 2014-2015 annual colony losses in the USA. Journal of Apicultural Research 54: 292-304.
Lee, KV; Steinhauer, N; Rennich, K; Wilson, ME; Tarpy, DR; Caron, DM; Rose, R; Delaplane, KS; Baylis, K; Lengerich, EJ; Pettis, J; Skinner, JA; Wilkes, JT; Sagili, R; vanEngelsdorp, D; for the Bee Informed Partnership (2015) A national survey of managed honey bee 2013–2014 annual colony losses in the USA. Apidologie, 1–14. DOI:10.1007/s13592-015-0356-z
Steinhauer, NA; Rennich, K; Wilson, ME; Caron, DM; Lengerich, EJ; Pettis, JS; Rose, R; Skinner, JA; Tarpy, DR; Wilkes, JT; vanEngelsdorp, D (2014) A national survey of managed honey bee 2012-2013 annual colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership. Journal of Apicultural Research, 53(1): 1–18. DOI:10.3896/IBRA.1.53.1.01
Spleen, AM; Lengerich, EJ; Rennich, K; Caron, D; Rose, R; Pettis, JS; Henson, M; Wilkes, JT; Wilson, M; Stitzinger, J; Lee, K; Andree, M; Snyder, R; vanEngelsdorp, D (2013) A national survey of managed honey bee 2011-12 winter colony losses in the United States: results from the Bee Informed Partnership. Journal of Apicultural Research, 52(2): 44–53. DOI:10.3896/IBRA.1.52.2.07
vanEngelsdorp, D; Caron, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, R; Henson, M; Rennich, K; Spleen, A; Andree, M; Snyder, R; Lee, K; Roccasecca, K; Wilson, M; Wilkes, J; Lengerich, E; Pettis, J (2012) A national survey of managed honey bee 2010-11 winter colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership. Journal of Apicultural Research, 51(1): 115–124. DOI:10.3896/IBRA.220.127.116.11
vanEngelsdorp, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, RM; Caron, D; Pettis, J (2011) A survey of managed honey bee colony losses in the USA, fall 2009 to winter 2010. Journal of Apicultural Research, 50(1): 1–10. DOI:10.3896/IBRA.1.50.1.01
vanEngelsdorp, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, RM; Pettis, JS (2010) A survey of honey bee colony losses in the United States, fall 2008 to spring 2009. Journal of Apicultural Research, 49(1): 7–14. DOI:10.3896/IBRA.1.49.1.03
vanEngelsdorp, D; Hayes, J; Underwood, RM; Pettis, J (2008) A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008. PLoS ONE, 3(12). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0004071
vanEngelsdorp, D; Underwood, R; Caron, D; Hayes, J (2007) An estimate of managed colony losses in the winter of 2006-2007: A report commissioned by the apiary inspectors of America. American Bee Journal, 147(7): 599–603.