October 7, 2020 - Bee Populations Have Grown 73% in Maine and Are Increasing in Many Other States


Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - Environmentalists often worry about honeybees, but there's some good news that has recently emerged about the present state of these important pollinators. The new bee colony report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes a surprising increase in the number of colonies across the nation. Some states are experiencing a particularly rapid expansion of their bee population. Reporting the most dramatic growth, Maine counted a 73% increase in colony numbers since 2018.

According to the report, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Maine reported the largest percent increases in bee colonies over the last two years. Oklahoma reported 69% growth, only slightly lagging behind Maine for the title of “most improved” bee colony. However, the highest percent growth is not indicative of the largest honeybee population. California has the largest number of colonies with over one million hives. Florida's 250,000 hives is the second largest state bee population. Both California and Florida have unfortunately lost colonies since 2018. However, the reported national increase of colonies by 14% in the past year offers hope for these states.

Bees are critical to producing fruit and flowers, but sadly they have suffered greatly from environmental changes over the past few decades. Wild honeybees face pollution, pesticides, and habitat loss. Managed beehives struggle with parasites and poor management. Bee researchers also worry about Colony Collapse Disorder, a destructive phenomenon that occurs when a hive loses its queen. Despite these difficulties, the data from the Department of Agriculture offers hope for the continued rebuilding of American honeybee colonies. The addition of many thousands of new hives is an important step towards preserving these vital creatures.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes a 14% national increase in bee colonies. Some states reported huge increases over the past two years—Maine bee populations rose 73%.

Bees are important pollinators, but they are facing many environmental challenges. The new data is a hopeful sign of a population beginning to rebound.

Finally, some good news about the environment!

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