Bees’ plight worsens

More colonies collapsed this past winter than any since 2006

Despite years of studying the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder, which began to kill off commercial honey bee populations in 2006, the problem is only getting worse. Apparently the disorder is caused by tiny mites that infest the hives and latch onto the bees, weakening them and making them more susceptible to pesticides. Add to that less crop diversity and habitat, and bees are facing a rough road ahead. That’s all according to a new survey of commercial honey beekeepers conducted by the University of Maryland’s Bee Informed Partnership. Here are some key numbers from that study:

• Since 2006, beekeepers have lost about 30 percent of colonies every winter.

• This past winter, nearly 40 percent of commercial colonies failed.

• There are about 2.69 million commercial honeybee colonies across the country.

• Every year, commercially raised honeybees pollinate $15 billion worth of food crops in the United States.

Source: NPR