It is estimated that the annual contribution of the bee to the economy of the United States is at least $15 billion. Beyond profitable products and by-products harvested directly from honey bee colonies such as honey, beeswax, propolis and royal jelly, more than 90 different crops – around a third of total crop production in the United States – depend on these prolific pollinators for their survival and prosperity.
A world without bees would be dark; there would be less food for human consumption, less variety among the fruits, vegetables and nuts that are left over, and the impacts of their absence would ripple throughout the entire food web. While the dystopian future is distant, honey bees are nevertheless under threat. Habitat loss, diseases like colony collapse syndrome, herbicides, pesticides, and pests like the aptly named varroa destructor mite all contribute, often in concert, to high rates of colony decline across the country.
Between 2020 and 2021, beekeepers lost about 45% of their managed bee colonies. The expected or acceptable rate of colony turnover due to natural environmental factors such as winter weather conditions is 20%.
Stacker compiled statistics on honey bee populations in California using the most recent annual data from the United States Department of Agriculture. So far in 2022, settlements are down 22% according to the most recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Beekeepers, researchers and scientists take great care to mitigate the loss of managed colonies by moving honey bees seasonally, feeding them sugar water when flowers are not in bloom to prevent death, renovating or by replenishing colonies when a queen bee dies and expanding existing colonies. to keep them healthy and productive. Still, there is little improvement from year to year, according to colony data.
The dystopian world without bees is not imminent, but the battle for their protection and prosperity is difficult.
California honey bee population health
– Maximum total colonies, April-June 2022: 1,030,000
— 2.8% decrease since 2021, 18 largest decrease nationally
– Colonies lost, April-June 2022: 82,000
— 28.1% decline since 2021
– Colonies added, April-June 2022: 154,000
— 6.7% decline since 2021
– Colonies renovated, April-June 2022: 121,000
— 32.8% decrease since 2021
States with the highest increase in honey bee colonies from 2021 to 2022
#1. Missouri: 118.8% increase
#2. Arkansas: 76.0% increase
#3. Louisiana: 48.3% increase
#4. Mississippi: 34.3% increase
#5. North Carolina: 30.4% increase
States with the greatest decrease in honey bee colonies from 2021 to 2022
#1. Kansas: 38.8% drop
#2. Illinois: 26.9% decline
#3. Wyoming: 23.3% drop
#4. Indiana: 23.1% drop
#5. Colorado: 22.0% decline