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article imageBees Not Getting Stronger, More Hive Deaths Reported

By KJ Mullins     May 7, 2008 in Environment
A survey of the health of honey bees released on Tuesday revealed how the insect's numbers dwindled and crops were in danger in the past year.
At the end of last year's honey bee season it was a wait and see period to be able to judge if the honeybees could come back strong. The answer from the Apiary Inspectors of America is not giving a good outlook. With 36.1 percent of the United States' managed bee hives lost this year looks even worst than last year. Last year there was a loss of 32 percent of the hives.
The honey bees are succumbing to new diseases, pesticide drift and old enemies like the parasitic varroa mite in record numbers.
Colony deaths are proving that bees are dying at levels that can not be sustainable. It does not appear that the situation will be improving either.
“For two years in a row, we've sustained a substantial loss,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of Apiary Inspectors of America said. “That's an astonishing number. Imagine if one out of every three cows, or one out of every three chickens, were dying. That would raise a lot of alarm.”
The survey of commercial bee hives included 327 operators. Those operators account for 19 percent of the United States' 2.44 million commercially managed bee hives.
Colony Collapse Disorder is a major concern again this year with 29 percent of the deaths of hive due to this cause. Beekeepers that have dealt with CCD have much larger losses than those who are clear of the disorder.
Because of the huge number of bee hive deaths federal grants and funding from companies like Haagen-Dazs are increasing. Haagen-Dazs relies on honey bees to pollinate the many fruits, berries and nuts that go into their products for flavoring.
More about Honey bees, Colony collapse disorder, Hive deaths