On May 13, 2015, the Bee Informed Partnership released a preliminary analysis of its 9th annual survey of honey bee colony loss.
Funded primarily by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Bee Informed Partnership is a collaboration of research labs and universities attempting to understand the reasons for why the honey bee population has been declining in the United States.
According to the latest Bee Informed Partnership preliminary analysis, responding beekeepers reported a winter (October to April) 2014-2015 colony loss rate of 23.1%. While this number represents a slight decrease from the winter 2013-2014 colony loss rate of 23.7%, it is still 4.4% above the acceptable self-reported colony loss rate of 18.7%. Additionally, the Bee Informed Partnership reported that the summer (April to October) 2014 colony loss rate was 27.4% as compared to the summer 2013 colony loss rate of 19.8%.
The Bee Informed Partnership colony loss rate percentages were based on data submitted by beekeepers overseeing 14.5% of the nations managed bee colonies. Accordingly, the authors of the preliminary analysis acknowledged that the current data submissions and reported percentages will most likely change between now and the final report. The final peer reviewed survey of honey bee colony loss is scheduled for release sometime later this year.
Relatedly, on May 19, 2015, the Obama administration established Pollinator Health Task Force issued a document titled the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. As part of the planned strategy to promote the nations honey bee population, the Environmental Protection Agency will "re-evaluate the neonicotinoid family of pesticides" and "restrict the use of pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees."
Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
May 27, 2015