Save the bees: Pa. loses nearly 50 percent of honey bee colonies

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In this Oct. 12, 2018 file photo, a man holds a frame removed from a hive box covered with honey bees in Lansing, Mich. According to the results of an annual survey of beekeepers released on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, winter hit America’s honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP)

(WTAJ) — Bee Informed Partnership released their 15th annual survey results that showed the loss of honey bee colonies, however, they also offered ways to help save the bees.

Bee Informed Partnership is a nonprofit that works with beekeepers to improve honey bee colony health and survivorship across the U.S., according to their website. The 15th annual preliminary report over the losses of honey bee colony rates was surveyed from April 2020 to April 2021.

Survey results

Pennsylvania beekeepers have lost 41.2 percent of their managed honey bee colonies, according to the report. It also states that the entire U.S. lost 45.5 percent of honey bees annually. The largest loss comes from Iowa, which lost 58.4 percent.

During the span of summer, April 2020 to October 2020, beekeepers in the U.S. lost around 31.1 percent of managed bee conies, which is slightly lower than last year’s estimated summer colony loss.

During the span of winter, October 2020, to April 2021, a total of 32.2 percent of honey bee colonies in the U.S. were lost. This is a 9.6 percentage point increase over the previous winter loss rate.

However, the report mentions that these numbers are subject to change as the final report is still being prepared.

For more information regarding colony losses, you can visit the Bee Informed Partnership interactive map. The map allows you to compare 2020-21 annual, summer and winter reports as well as data from previous years.

Saving the bees

Honey bees pollinate flowers of fruits, vegetables and nuts that are grown and consumed, making them a critically important species for agricultural and plant ecosystems, the website states. Some factors that threaten honey bees include poor nutrition due to land-use change, pesticide exposure and introduced pests and diseases.

To help save the bees, the general public can reduce herbicide, fungicide and insecticide use. Additionally, they can plant pollen and nectar-rich plants, shrubs and trees that flower at different times so that the blooms are present spring to fall.

For more information on bees, head to the FAQ on the Bee Informed Partnership website.

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