56 percent of Maryland’s bees disappeared in 2016 as pollinator collapse accelerates

Friday, March 24, 2017
By Paul Martin

by: Vicki Batts
Friday, March 24, 2017

The decimation of bee populations is a national concern, but beekeepers in the state of Maryland have been hit especially hard by the wave of bee deaths. In 2016 alone, beekeepers in the mid-Atlantic state faced a devastating loss equating to more than 56 percent of their bee colonies, according to the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP). And over the last three years, Maryland apiarists have lost an average of 54 percent of their total colonies. It’s a sad state of affairs, to say the least.

Maryland State Agriculture statistics reveal that the state is home to some 14,000 registered colonies. As Bill Castro from Bee Friendly Apiary explains, this translates to about 7,600 colonies that need to be replaced each year. With the average cost of replacement per colony being about $150 with the starting price of $100 per package and up to $200 for nucleus colonies, it can get quite expensive. Castro writes that in total, Maryland beekeepers are forced to spend about $1.3 million each year just to replace lost colonies, and that figure doesn’t include lost revenue and labor, or losses in potential growth.

Beekeepers across the nation haven’t been faring much better: in the 2015-2016 year, the average loss of colonies for apiarists around the United States was a staggering 44 percent. In total, average losses had increased by 3.5 percent in just a single year.

The massive decline in bee populations can be attributed to many things. For example, the state of Maryland saw low rainfall last year and low amounts of “abundant natural forage,” which can lead to compromised immunity in bees. This, in turn, leaves the bees susceptible to things like mites, bacterial infections and viruses.

Outside of these more natural causes that tend to ebb and flow, however, there is a more sinister player: pesticides. (RELATED: Learn more about the harmful effects of pesticides at Pesticides.news)

Pesticides and bee deaths

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