Bee population grows in U.S.

Honeybee populations are rising in the United States, turning around a recent trend of declines attributed to a set of factors know as colony collapse disorder.

It’s estimated that 84,430 hives were lost to the disorder in the first quarter this year, which is down 27 percent from a year earlier.

Year-over-year losses also fell 27 per cent from April through June, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s honeybee health survey.

Overall, the number of U.S. hives increased by three percent to 2.89 million. The study attributed the overall increase in bee numbers mainly to the replacement of losses.

Varroa mites, thought to be one of the key causes behind colony losses, continue to plague beekeepers with more than two-fifths saying the mites were doing damage.

Mites were reported in 42 percent of commercial hives, down from 53 percent in the same April-to-June period a year ago.

Beekeepers also reported that 13 percent of colonies were being harmed by pesticides, 12 percent by non-varroa pests and 4.3 percent by diseases.

Starvation, bad weather and lack of forage were also listed as problems.

The annual colony loss report normally carried out by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists has not yet been released for 2017.

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