Between April 2016 and April 2017, roughly 33% of honeybee colonies in the US died. Over the last decade, annual bee colony losses have been around 40%.
Some years the number was closer to 50%. This means that the losses are slowing, but 33% is still too high of a number for sustainability. The implications for the entire agricultural industry is enormous. Farmers rely on bees to help pollinate and grow their crops.
According to Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, one out of every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by bees – either directly or indirectly.
Some crops, such as almonds, are 100% reliant on honeybee pollination to succeed.
While pesticides and diseases are contributing factors in the decline of the honeybee, the number one killer is a parasite known as the varroa mite. The mite spreads from colony to colony and is incredibly lethal.
You can do your part to save the colonies by “buying honey from a local beekeeper, becoming a beekeeper , avoiding using pesticides in your yard and making room for pollinators, such as honeybees, in your yard”, says vanEngelsdorp.
You can also make a bee waterer in your backyard to help the bees rehydrate.