More than 40 percent of America’s bee colonies died off in the past year, the second highest percentage loss in the 10 years the survey has been conducted.
Beekeepers reported losing 28.1 percent of their colonies during the summer of 2015 and 44.1 percent of their colonies between April 2015 and March 2016. A total of 59 percent of the beekeepers reported that their winter colony loss rates were more than 16.9 percent – the number considered acceptable.
The data is significant because the previous year’s data showed an improvement.
The survey was conducted in a joint effort between Bee Informed Partnership, the Apiary Inspectors of America and the United States Department of Agriculture.
The group Friends of the Earth said the losses “are considered too high to be sustainable for U.S. agriculture and the beekeeping industry.”
“These honeybee losses reinforce what sciences continues to tell us; we must take immediate action to restrict pesticides contributing to bee declines,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes of Friends of the Earth. “The longer we wait, the worse the situation becomes. If we do not suspend neonicotinoid pesticides immediately, we risk losing our beekeepers and harming important ecosystem functions upon which our food supply depends.”