UMD researcher helps find steep drop in winter bee mortality

An annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America shows that the death rate of managed honey bee colonies during the past winter dropped significantly.

The survey, which was co-led by researcher Dennis vanEngelsdorp of the University of Maryland Department of Entomology, showed that total honey bee colony losses from all causes fell from 30 percent to 21.9 percent in one year.

While not confirmed, the relative warmth of this past winter may be a contributing factor to this increased resilience.

“A warm winter means less stress on bee colonies and may help them be more resistant to pathogens, parasites and other problems,” Jeff Pettis, co-leader of the survey and research leader of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Laboratory, said in a USDA release.

Read the details of the survey here.