ATHENS, Ga. — Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on January 1, 2020 totaled 2.88 million colonies, up 8 percent from January 1, 2019. The number of colonies in the United States on April 1, 2020 was 2.98 million colonies. During 2019, honey bee colonies on January 1, July 1, and October 1 were 2.67 million, 3.18 million, and 3.02 million colonies, respectively.
Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2020, was 399,570 colonies, or 14 percent. The number of colonies lost during the quarter of April through June 2020 was 252,630 colonies, or 8 percent. During the quarter of July through September 2019, colonies lost totaled 434,700 colonies, or 14 percent, the highest number lost of any quarter surveyed in 2019. The quarter surveyed in 2019 with the lowest number of colonies lost was October through December, with 399,510 colonies lost, or 13 percent.
Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters surveyed in 2019. The quarter of October through December 2019 had the highest percentage of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites at 45.7 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2020 and April through June 2020 are 25.5 percent and 42.3 percent respectively.
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