ATHENS, Ga. — Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on January 1, 2021 totaled 2.92 million colonies, up 2 percent from January 1, 2020. The number of colonies in the United States on April 1, 2021 was 2.86 million colonies. During 2020, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 2.88 million, 2.97 million, 3.18 million, and 3.14 million colonies, respectively.
Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2021, was 372,630 colonies, or 13 percent. The number of colonies lost during the quarter of April through June 2021 was 255,860 colonies, or 9 percent. During the quarter of October through December 2020, colonies lost totaled 484,920 colonies, or 15 percent, the highest number lost of any quarter surveyed in 2020. The quarter surveyed in 2020 with the lowest number of colonies lost was April through June, with 300,990 colonies lost, or 10 percent.
Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters surveyed in 2020. The period with the highest percentage of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites was July through September 2020 at 55.7 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2021 and April through June 2021 are 31.3 percent and 48.7 percent, respectively
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