Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Honey Bee Losses Continue To Rise In U.S.

Date:
May 26, 2008
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Colony Collapse Disorder, diseases, parasitic mites and other stressors continue to take a devastating toll on U.S. honey bee populations, but Pennsylvania beekeepers on average fared better than their counterparts nationally during this past winter, according to apiculture experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. 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.

Colony Collapse Disorder, diseases, parasitic mites and other stressors continue to take a devastating toll on U.S. honey bee populations, but Pennsylvania beekeepers on average fared better than their counterparts nationally during this past winter, according to apiculture experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

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.

Pennsylvania fared better, with losses of about 26 percent, compared to nearly 48 percent the previous year. "About 70 percent of the state's losses this year were not related to Colony Collapse Disorder," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, acting state apiarist for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and a Penn State senior extension associate in entomology.

He said the state's lower overall bee-mortality rate may be due to greater awareness of bee health issues and beekeepers' diligence in controlling varroa mites, nosema and other threats. He pointd out that weather conditions also may have been more favorable for winter survival.

vanEngelsdorp noted that the state's comparatively lower losses meant that beekeepers this spring were able to meet the pollination demands of Pennsylvania's $61 million apple industry, which is the fourth largest in the country. Apples are completely dependent on insects for pollination, and 90 percent of that pollination is accomplished by honey bees.

"However, the cost of pollination has risen dramatically," he said "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. Last year, apple growers harvested about 21,500 acres.

Later this year, pumpkin growers may pay $95 to $105 per colony, compared to $55 to $65 last year, vanEngelsdorp said.

Meanwhile, Penn State researchers are making progress in pinning down the cause or causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a mysterious ailment that threatens the beekeeping industry and the crops and native plants that rely on honey bees for pollination.

In fall 2007, a team led by Diana Cox-Foster, professor of entomology, reported a strong correlation between CCD and the presence of Israeli acute paralysis virus, making the pathogen a prime suspect in the disease. Since that time, researchers have introduced IAPV to healthy honey bee colonies in a controlled greenhouse environment in an effort to induce a collapse.

"Within one week of introducing the virus, we observed dramatic bee mortality, with bees dying outside the colonies across the room in the greenhouse," said Cox-Foster. "Bees were found on the floor with paralytic-type movements, and guard bees were observed removing paralytic bees from colonies and flying across the room. The majority of these 'twitcher' bees were found to have IAPV."

Cox-Foster noted that within a month, infected colonies had declined to small clusters of bees, many of which had lost their queens. "These data indicate that IAPV is a highly pathogenic virus," she said. "But they do not yet support a finding of IAPV as the sole cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. We still suspect that additional stresses are needed to trigger CCD."

Among the potential triggers being investigated are environmental chemicals. Penn State scientists analyzing pollen, wax, adult bees and brood (larvae) have found the presence of dozens of chemicals, including pesticides used by agricultural producers to protect crops and by beekeepers to control hive pests such as parasitic mites.

"This raises several complicated questions," said Maryann Frazier, senior extension associate in entomology. "Some of these compounds could react with each other to cause toxic effects or could combine with viruses or poor nutrition to weaken immunity and cause colony collapse. We also need to do more research to understand these chemicals' sub-lethal effects on bees."

Though the role of chemicals in Colony Collapse Disorder is still unknown, Frazier noted that beekeepers need more options for controlling varroa mites so they can reduce their reliance on chemicals. "With the sheer number of compounds we're finding in hives, it's hard to believe that pesticides aren't contributing to the general decline in bee health," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Honey Bee Losses Continue To Rise In U.S.." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521205303.htm>.
Penn State. (2008, May 26). Honey Bee Losses Continue To Rise In U.S.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521205303.htm
Penn State. "Honey Bee Losses Continue To Rise In U.S.." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521205303.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins