I know people are interested in the continuing honeybee saga. From a recent press release by Penn State:
“A recent survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America found that losses nationwide topped 36 percent of managed hives between September 2007 and March 2008, compared to a 31 percent loss during the same period a year earlier.
“…the cost of pollination has risen dramatically,” he says. “This year, apple growers paid about $65 per colony, compared with $35 to $45 in the past.” A typical apple orchard requires one colony per acre to achieve adequate pollination.”
Thirty-Six Percent Losses. Damn.
Expect higher fruit prices in the fall, I guess.
Interestingly, only about a third of those reported losses were attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder. Bee loss over the winter is high normally, which has always been treated as a cost of doing business. Now folks are questioning whether it was perhaps something we should have paid attention to sooner…..
In the Fall of 2007, the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) in collaboration with the USDA-ARS
Beltsville Bee Lab conducted a study to help determine the distribution of various bee parasites and pathogens. Preliminary results from this survey reveal:
1) Nosema levels tended to be higher in colonies collected from CCD-suspect apiaries
2) Mean varroa levels over all sampled colonies were approaching critical levels (9.5 mites/100 bees), but levels did not differ between colonies in CCD-suspect and non-CCD suspect apiaries.
3) Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) was found in 9 of the 11 states sampled, and in 47% of all
The preliminary report has a very nice summary of what is known, to date, about CCD and the different suspect causes. Alas, there is still no clear cause. If only it was as simple as this.