Colorado Department of Agriculture shares the latest survey data on the health of managed honey bees

May 22, 2017

From: Colorado Department of Agriculture via The Fence Post

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Bee pollinators play a crucial role in natural and agricultural ecosystems and contribute over $200 billion in revenue from vegetable, fruit and nut production in the United States. To gain a better understanding of current honey bee health in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has taken part in the National Honey Bee Health Survey for the last three years.


A total of 67 apiaries (27 percent hobby and 73 percent commercial) were sampled over three years for the Varroa mite, several honey bee viruses that Varroa spreads, and a fungal disease called Nosema. Varroa mites are parasitic animals that feed on the hemolyph (blood) of bees. Not only do Varroa mites cause injury to a honey bee by itself, they are also responsible for spreading several honey bee virus diseases. If left untreated, Varroa mites can kill a colony in two or three years and are thought to be the single most significant reason for high colony loss numbers during the winter.

“Nationally, surveys have determined that high Varroa mite numbers are particularly troubling for backyard beekeepers, backyard or hobby beekeepers do not have appropriate Varroa controls in place,” Pottorff said.

Beekeepers can learn more about integrated hive management including strategies for identifying and mitigating pests and diseases affecting Colorado’s honey bees through this booklet

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