Over the past two decades, scientists and beekeepers alike observed drastic declines in bee populations. On average, beekeepers lose significantly more honey bee colonies each year and fewer native bee species are spotted in the wild. This is especially apparent in the Midwest where research conducted at Iowa State University observes multiple factors that contribute to the decline in bees and other pollinators. According to an annual Bee Informed Partnership survey, Iowa beekeepers typically lose between 40-60% of their hives each year. Considering that Iowa has nearly 5,000 beekeepers, these levels of hive loss are staggering and it is expensive for beekeepers to purchase new honey bee queens and colonies each year. Scientists point to three major stressors that contribute synergistically to bee decline: pesticide exposure, lack of suitable habitat for nesting and foraging, and parasites and pathogens (such as the varroa mite).
Iowa State University
Cass, Randall, "Keeping Bees in CRP" (2020). Integrated Crop Management News. 2626.
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