We need honey bees! Declining bee populations affect the environment and agriculture—in the U.S., one out of every three bites of food depends on bees. Without honey bees we risk an uncertain future. But a recent article in Newsweek reports that new data may indicate bee populations may be beginning to stabilize.

“Just over a decade ago, beekeepers began reporting disturbing declines in honeybee populations. Bees, they said, were leaving the hive and not returning. The phenomenon, now known as colony collapse disorder, is alarming not only because of the central role bees play in plant life around the world—and thus most other life—but also because no one knew why the decline was happening or how to stop it. Several possible causes have since been identified, but that hasn't prevented the disappearances. 

But new data give some reason for optimism. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Tuesday, honeybee populations are on the rise. As of April [2017], an estimated 2.89 million bee colonies existed across the U.S., an increase of 3 percent compared to April 2016.

But the news isn't completely rosy. Varrora mites, a parasite that lives inside beehives, are one of the many causes that researchers believe could be behind the losses. And the new report lists these mites as the top stressor responsible for lost colonies. The parasites, which survive by sucking insect blood, were reported in 42 percent of commercial bee hives.

Whether the slight uptick seen this past winter will continue is impossible to predict.”

We are hopeful that efforts to help the honey bees are beginning to have an impact on declining honey bee populations. It is important that we continue to conduct honey bee health research and educate people on alternatives to pesticides and industrial agriculture. Together we are making a difference.

To read the full Newsweek article, please visit: Save the Bees: Honey Bee Populations on the rise after Colony collapse Disorder