Bee Losses

The loss of bee colonies is not a new phenomenon.

Bayer Bee Care - Bee colony losses

Population dynamics of managed honey bee colonies are primarily determined by socio-economic factors. Population development in Europe and North America has been stable over the last 10 years.

Periodic increases in the loss of colonies have been witnessed on a large scale in the bee population for many centuries. Large colony losses, for example, occurred as early as 1906 on a small island near the southern coast of England, the Isle of Wight.

This should be clearly differentiated from the term colony collapse disorder (CCD), which bee researchers in the United States coined to describe a unique set of specific symptoms that occur almost exclusively in the US. Of all the colony losses that occur annually, only a few fit the CCD profile.

In Europe, there have been very few cases of CCD.

Beekeeping is recorded to be in a general decline in several regions of the world. In parts of Europe and the United States, this decline has been more prominently observed. Many beekeepers in these countries have decided to abandon beekeeping because of various circumstances such as old age, recruitment problems, or strong competition from cheap imported honey. In contrast to the situation in Europe and North America, however, the number of honeybee colonies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America has risen sharply in the last 50 years so that the total population has increased by more than 45 percent worldwide.

All over the world, colonies are regularly lost as a result of a wide range of causes. No single cause for all of these losses has been able to be determined.

Many factors such as pathogens, parasites, weather conditions, habitat loss, poor nutrition, and agriculture and apiary practice impact the health of bee colonies today.

Neonicotinoides infographic

Further reading:

COLOSS: Losses of Honeybee Colonies over the 2013/14 Winter
Croplife International: Factors Affecting Global Bee Health

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