Humanity Might Be A Mess, But Bees Are Doing Great

Everyone can agree that 2020 has so far been a bad year, right? Well, maybe ask some beekeepers, who are happy to report that American honeybee colonies have bounced back.

This past winter, beekeepers lost only 22.2% of their colonies, which is lower than the average of 28.6%. According to the Bee Informed Partnership’s survey, it was the second smallest winter loss in 14 years.

For decades, scientists have worried about the collapse of honeybee populations, which are crucial to the world’s food supply. Honeybees in particular are threatened by disease, food loss, and pesticides.

Last winter’s loss was considerably less than the previous winter of 2018-2019 when a record 37.7% of colonies died off. After that bad winter, the losses continued through the summer of 2019, when beekeepers reported a 32% loss rate—much higher than the average of 21.6% for summer losses.

After new research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that taking bees inside during the winter and putting them in “cold storage” may help them survive.

While the summer losses are bad, winter deaths are really the test of colony health,” said bee partnership scientific coordinator Nathalie Steinhauer. “It turned out to be a very good year.”

How about those bees send some good vibes to us humans?

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi