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British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Decline of bees, other pollinators threatens US crop yields - US study

  • Environmental issues and concerns that affect beekeeping.
Environmental issues and concerns that affect beekeeping.
 #8372  by Chrisbarlow
 01 Aug 2020, 12:49
US study released 28.7.20

Crop yields for apples, cherries and blueberries across the United States are being reduced by a lack of pollinators, according to new research, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. Most of the world's crops depend on honeybees and wild bees for pollination, so declines in both managed and wild bee populations raise concerns about food security, notes the study.
 #8393  by AndrewLD
 04 Aug 2020, 06:33
AdamD wrote:
03 Aug 2020, 10:03
I suspect there is a similar situation in other parts of the world too.
People have mentioned this summer that there seems to be more insects about - less pollution this year perhaps?
It is no surprise when you note the very high colony losses >40% over there. I think they are paying for their industrial use of bees and over-use of pesticides.
Insect numbers in any year can vary widely due to weather and here in the UK I put that down to the warm Spring.
I keep wondering if the German scientists' claim that insect numbers have fallen by 75%? was actually down to the fact that they chose a duff year to do their survey.......
 #8399  by Patrick
 04 Aug 2020, 16:44
The study by researchers from the Netherlands on German nature reserves was an annual long term monitoring survey from 1989 to the present day with quite detailed statistical weightings for annual weather differences etc. They sampled and measured biomass by weight of flying insects regardless of species, which is an interesting change from the few long term single species studies, which are often then suggested to be unreliable proxies for wider invertebrate trends, due to some species specific vagary.

The take-homes I wondered about were 1) if this was a long term study of insect population changes on nature reserve areas, just how bad was it in the unsampled wider countryside? 2) interesting for confirmation of what we already know - fragmented areas of habitat managed as nature reserves do not stand apart - they are influenced by the changes in land management that occur in the landscapes that surround them. 3) one can argue the percentage changes, but the long term statistics would have to be really duff to suggest there was anything but a significant decline. 4) The dataset became a long term study probably simply by merit of repetition, there is nothing to suggest it was set out to be one originally. The problem is the media present such studies as implying it measures the change from when things were relatively "good" at the start in 1989 to the present when it is "worse". In practice, in modern economies like Germany or the US it is very likely that invertebrates were already in sustained decline at the population level for many decades previously.

On more cheerful news, its teatime and at least I have cake.. :roll:
 #12981  by AdamD
 31 Jul 2022, 18:56
I have picked up this old thread to add a recent colony loss report from the USA from the Bee Informed survey results.

For backyard beekeepers (under 50 colonies), colony losses for 2021-22 was 58.8% compared to commercial beekeepers (>500 colonies) who lost 36.6% of colonies.
Both of these are extremeny high. I have seen some advice - a few years ago - where varroa was sort of ignored in advice to new beekeepers, however I wonder what they are doing wrong over there?
 #12982  by NigelP
 31 Jul 2022, 19:58
Adam, there are totally different aspects to USA beekeeping vs UK. About 90% of ALL USA bees are moved to California in the spring for almond pollination (see ABJ for actual numbers) . At prices close to £150, per hive it's hard money to ignore. They then get moved to other crops requiring pollination. The guy's who move hives 1000's of miles expect to lose them and spend their time back home regenerating hives to take next season. The figures are very misleading as most hobbyist/honey producers do not experience anything like the (shock horror) losses reported. It's a commercial consequence of pollination contracts that take no regard for the welfare of the bees. Insecticides are sprayed over almond trees whilst the bees are still there. Profit vs welfare.

Same is happening in Australia, where varroa has recently been detected. Bee farmers are been given license to move bees to restricted areas as almond pollination is more commercially important than varroa free bees.
 #12983  by MickBBKA
 01 Aug 2022, 00:34
On holiday I spoke to some beekeepers from South Carolina who said they suffered 60% losses because the winters were bad getting down as low as 4c ........... :shock: :lol:

If you follow American beekeeping they never talk about honey yield, all they talk about is doing splits obviously because pollination pays a more guaranteed return than producing honey. Its very much the opposite here in the UK.

They treat their bees appallingly