08-01-17 USDA-NASS-CO: HONEY BEE COLONIES DOWN SLIGHTLY FOR OPERATIONS WITH FIVE OR MORE COLONIES

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USDA APHIS Honeybee aphidsHONEY BEE COLONIES DOWN SLIGHTLY FOR OPERATIONS WITH FIVE OR MORE COLONIES

Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on January 1, 2017 totaled 2.62 million colonies, down slightly from January 1, 2016. The number of colonies in the United States on April 1, 2017 was 2.89 million colonies. During 2016, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 2.62 million, 2.80 million, 3.18 million, and 3.03 million colonies, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2017, was 362 thousand colonies, or 14 percent. The number of colonies lost during the quarter of April through June 2017 was 226 thousand colonies, or 8 percent. During the quarter of October through December 2016, colonies lost totaled 502 thousand colonies, or 17 percent, the highest of any quarter in 2016. The quarter in 2016 with the lowest number of colonies lost was April through June, with 330 thousand colonies lost, or 12 percent.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2017 was 586 thousand colonies. The number of colonies added during the quarter of April through June 2017 was 653 thousand. During the quarter of April through June 2016, 737 thousand colonies were added, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2016. The quarter of October through December 2016 added 125 thousand colonies, the least number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2016.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2017 was 240 thousand colonies, or 9 percent. During the quarter of April through June 2017, 806 thousand colonies, or 28 percent, were renovated.

The quarter in 2016 with the highest number of colonies renovated was April through June with 561 thousand colonies renovated, or 20 percent. The quarter in 2016 with the lowest number of colonies renovated was October through December 2016, with 60.4 thousand or 2 percent. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters of 2016. The quarter of April through June 2016 had highest percentage of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites at 53.4 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2017 and April through June 2017 are 42.2 percent and 41.6 percent, respectively.

Colonies lost with Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms on operations with five or more colonies was 84.4 thousand colonies from January through March 2017. This is a 27 percent decrease from the same quarter of 2016. 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.

HONEY BEE OPERATIONS WITH LESS THAN FIVE COLONIES

Honey bee colonies for operations with less than five colonies in the United States on January 1, 2016 totaled 40.0 thousand down 20 percent from January 1, 2015. During 2016, honey bee colonies on April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 37.0 thousand, 44.0 thousand, and 40.0 thousand, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with less than five colonies during the quarter of January through March 2016 was 10.0 thousand colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies loss during any quarter for 2016. The quarter in 2016 with the least number of colonies lost was April through June, with 4.10 thousand colonies.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with less than five colonies during the quarter of April through June 2016 was 12.0 thousand colonies, the highest number honey bee colonies added during any quarter of 2016. The quarter in 2016 with the least number of colonies added was October through December, with 760 colonies.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with less than five colonies during the quarter of April through June 2016 was 3.40 thousand colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies renovated during any quarter of 2016. The quarter in 2016 with the least number of colonies renovated was October through December, with 450 colonies.

During 2016, the highest reported colony stressor for operations with less than five colonies was varroa mites, with 17.6 percent of the colonies reported to be affected. This is an 11 percent decrease from the previous year.

Colonies lost with Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms on operations with less than five colonies was 4.20 thousand colonies during 2016, a 40 percent decrease from 2015. 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.

For state specific questions please contact:

  • Arizona – Dave DeWalt 1-800-645-7286
  • Colorado – William R. Meyer 1-800-392-3202
  • Montana – Eric Sommer 1-800-835-2612
  • New Mexico – Longino Bustillos 1-800-530-8810
  • Utah – John Hilton 1-800-747-8522
  • Wyoming – Rhonda Brandt 1-800-892-1660