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US Honeybees Making Comeback, Survey Shows


FILE - Honeybee colonies may be making a comeback after a rough year of losses.
FILE - Honeybee colonies may be making a comeback after a rough year of losses.

Honeybees are coming back after record losses in 2019, a survey of U.S. beekeepers says.

The Bee Informed Partnership says this past winter was one of the smallest loss of colonies in 14 years. Researchers credit better management by beekeepers for the resurgence in colonies.

"The reason why colonies can die are very multiple and that's unfortunately, the complex reality of honeybee health is that there are multiple drivers that are affecting honeybee health. We usually categorize them in categories of what we call the four Ps, which is pests, pathogens, poor nutrition and pesticides.” Dr. Nathalie Steinhauer of the University of Maryland says.

According to the partnership survey, beekeepers lost a little more than 22% of their colonies over the past winter compared to the average wintertime loss of 28%.

According to the Bee Informed Partnership, which includes the University of Maryland, more than 3,377 beekeepers managing 276,832 colonies across the United States responded to the survey.

The university says this represents more than 10% of the nation’s estimated 2.67 million managed colonies.

The researchers say beekeepers only lost about 22.2% of their colonies this past winter, from October 1 last year to March 31 this year.

That is lower than the average of 28% -- but the winter of 2018-2019 was a devastating 37.7% -- a record.

Pollinating honeybees are crucial to the global food supply and scientists have been worried about the effects global warming and pesticides on their dwindling population.