Last year, we heard that the bee colony losses had become slower. The decrease was not a significant one, but this slowing down was surely reassuring for nature lovers around the globe.
Professor Dennis van Engelsdorp, who teaches entomology at the University of Maryland, said that the news of decrease in the rate of bee colony losses is just better than what most expected it to be. Prof. Engelsdorp was the leader of the team that conducted a survey of the bee population.
The data gathered by the survey team suggest that the last year has seen the destruction of 23% bee colonies. It’s less that the average loss taking place between 2005 and 2013, which is 30%. However, still the news cannot be categorized as “good news”.
It’s true that scientists have revealed that they have progressed in the fight against the Asian mite responsible for the death of many American bees; however, they have also said that there’s nothing to be elated about at this moment.
According to Jeff Pettis, a coauthor of the above mentioned survey, facts collected during a period of one year cannot be regarded as trends. Here, it must be mentioned that Pettis is the head of the Beltsville-based federal bee research laboratory.
Now, it has been proved that Pettis was right. Engelsdorp along with his co-researchers from the Bee Informed Partnership just revealed that the past one year has witnessed destruction of over 40% honeybee hives. The number is still preliminary; however, already it marks the 2nd highest annual bee colony loss ever if all the recorded data is considered.
University of Georgia’s Keith Delaplane, a coauthor of the study, said that this ongoing bee problem is indicating that something is wrong with our agro-ecosystems. Delaplane added that people are noticing the problem only in honeybees as keeping a count of these creatures is very easy.
The researchers haven’t pinpointed any particular cause of the demise of the bees. They said that colony collapse disorder, which is often linked to mass deaths of honey bees, cannot be regarded as the obvious reason behind this sharp increase in the rate of bee hive destruction. According to them, the destructions might be caused by a combination of factors including poor nutrition, extreme weather conditions, pesticides, and so on.