[Science] USDA and EPA on Honey Bee Health

Nothing new here, just the latest USDA report on Honey Bee Health.  Mostly the same stuff we've known and heard about for several years now.  While it's labeled a "report", and you might get the impression it was developed by the Agencies themselves, it seems to have come out of a recent Symposium or Conference, with several research and discussions questions for the community that came out of the gathering.  Very much worth the read, even if you're already familiar with the topics.

Press Release via EPA:

Actual report via USDA (link at bottom of EPA Press Release):

Varroa Destructor is noted as still "... the single most detrimental pest of 
honey bees, and is closely associated with overwintering colony declines."

[Science] US Winter Bee Losses not as bad as feared

This is why I like science.  It's a gut check.  All we've heard so far is how terrible the winter kill was with lots of anecdotal evidence to backup the claim. (Dr. Eric Mussen - UC Davis - predicts >35% on NPR here )  I personally got beat-up with my losses this year, but where I overwinter was hit by a very long cold spell that lasted months.  Then along comes science that objectively measures reality.

The folks over at the Bee Informed Partnership have already tallied up the losses from their annual survey - see my earlier post here and while you're at it, watch the videos of the hive management techniques that worked and didn't work last year here

Download the published report from the International Bee Research Association (IBRA), where it was just published.  http://www.ibra.org.uk/downloads/20130327_6/download

The loss comes in for the winter at 22.5%   Not great, but not as bad as the 40-50% I've heard thrown around, and better than last years 29.9%.  The mean for the last six years is 30.5%.

In my defense, I did lose about 50% and that seems to track with the average value for my state (45.23%) in the breakdowns.

I look forward to the equipment and management technique analysis that should come from them a little later.

Update 5-3-2013

Well this is embarrassing.  It looks like I misread the dates on the report or they were getting turned around in my head.  The report was from 2011-2013, while I was thinking it was the 2012-13 report.  Stay tuned to see if Dr Eric Mussen's predictions are accurate or not then.  They are planning to announce on the 7th of may, the preliminary results.