New figures show that the U.S honeybee crisis, which has been going on for some time now, is getting worse.
While the colonies suffered typically during the summer months, the new data shows this trend could spread into winter, reports Telegraph UK. As of right now, more than 42 percent of colonies died in the latest 12-month period. This furthers a tend that is affecting both beekeepers as well as crop pollination for farmers. Furthermore, data also shows that more of the insects died in summer than winter for the first time since the US department of agriculture launched its annual honeybee survey in 2010. Scientists still are unsure why this crisis is happening, but more research will be done.
The dramatic increase in bee deaths was first noted nearly a decade ago when the insects started to desert their hives and die en masse. This is now called colony collapse disorder, but largely remains a mystery. There had been indications that the scale of the die-offs was easing in recent years, but the new survey has brought fresh alarm as the overall death rate returned towards previous peaks. The stress that occurs during winter usually causes such die-offs, but the losses is the summer are largely unexplained. Not only that, but the losses in summer are actually higher than the ones in winter.
Researchers, beekeepers and environmental groups have come together to identify a series of possible causes for the die-offs. The leading theories are things such as hive infestations by the varroa mite, pesticides and poor diets. Honeybees are vital to the ecosystem and pollinate more than $15 billion of crops each year. However, the losses have driven many beekeepers out of business, and the most recent loss rate of 42 per cent was up from 34 per cent for 2013-14 and almost back to the high of 45 per cent in 2012-2013.