U.S. Honey Bee Colonies Down 9 Percent April-June

USAgNet - 08/03/2021

Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on January 1, 2021 totaled 2.92 million colonies, up 2% from January 1, 2020. The number of colonies in the United States on April 1, 2021, was 2.86 million colonies. During 2020, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 2.88 million, 2.97 million, 3.18 million, and 3.14 million colonies, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2021, was 372,630 colonies, or 13%. The number of colonies lost during the quarter of April through June 2021 was 255,860 colonies, or 9%. During the quarter of October through December 2020, colonies lost totaled 484,920 colonies, or 15%, the highest number lost of any quarter surveyed in 2020. The quarter surveyed in 2020 with the lowest number of colonies lost was April through June, with 300,990 colonies lost, or 10%.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2021 was 308,530 colonies. The number of colonies added during the quarter of April through June 2021 was 677,690. During the quarter of April through June 2020, the number of colonies added were 536,170 colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter surveyed in 2020. The quarter of October through December 2020 added 271,500 colonies, the least number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter surveyed in 2020.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2021 was 156,270 colonies, or 5%. During the quarter of April through June 2021, the number of colonies renovated were 480,380 colonies, or 17%. The quarter surveyed in 2020 with the highest number of colonies renovated was April through June with 626,870 colonies renovated, or 21%. The quarter surveyed in 2020 with the lowest number of colonies renovated was October through December 2020, with 128,990, or 4%. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters surveyed in 2020. The period with the highest percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites was July through September 2020 at 55.7%. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2021 and April through June 2021 are 31.3% and 48.7%, respectively.


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