Bee Colonies Experience Winter Drop

WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) — A dramatic loss in domestic bee colonies is being blamed on starvation, pesticides, poor weather and weak colonies, U.S. apiary experts said.

Losses of domestic, managed colonies totaled 33.8 percent from October 2009 to April, said a survey released Thursday by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There was a 35.8 percent overall colony loss in the winter of 2007-2008.

The losses threaten the future of U.S. crop pollination and the domestic honey industry, said Jerry Hayes, a hive inspector with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The loss of hives, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, likely was caused by a combination of factors, including environmental stresses, nutrition problems, pathogens and parasites, the survey said.

The survey reported only winter losses and not the number of colonies that fail during the summer, which can be significant, Hayes told The Miami Herald in a story reported Friday.

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