USDA honey bee colony reports

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

Data collection for July 2019 quarterly honey bee colonies has been suspended. Before deciding to suspend data collection, NASS reviewed its estimating programs against mission- and user-based criteria as well as the amount of time remaining in the fiscal year to meet its budget and program requirements while maintaining the strongest data in service to U.S. agriculture. Information about all NASS surveys and reports is available online at www.nass.usda.gov.

South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS – Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in South Dakota as of January 1, 2019 totaled 18,500 according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. During 2018, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 23,000, 10,000, 168,000, and 140,000, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 1,100 colonies or 6 percent lost. The quarter of July-September 2018, at 22,000 or 11 percent, showed the highest number of lost honey bee colonies of any quarter during 2018. The quarter of January-March 2018 had a loss of 390 colonies or 1 percent, the lowest number of honey bee colonies lost in 2018.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. The quarter of April-June 2018, added 12,500 colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter in 2018. The quarter of January- March 2018, at 250, showed the lowest number of honey bee colonies added during 2018.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. During April-June 2018, 65,000 colonies were renovated, the highest number of colonies renovated during 2018. The lowest number of honey bee colonies renovated for any quarter, at 90, occurred during January-March 2018. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all four quarters in 2018. The quarter of April-June 2018 showed the highest percentage of varroa mites in 2018, at 55.1 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January-March 2019 were 0.8 percent.

North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. — Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in North Dakota as of January 1, 2019 totaled 92,000 according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. During 2018, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 66,000, 74,000, 455,000, and 430,000, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 1,100 colonies or 1 percent lost. The quarter of July-September 2018, at 59,000 or 12 percent, showed the highest number of lost honey bee colonies of any quarter during 2018. The quarter of January-March 2018 had a loss of 3,200 colonies or 3 percent, the lowest number of honey bee colonies lost in 2018.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. The quarters of April-June 2018 and July-September 2018, added 23,000 colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for all quarters during 2018. The quarter of January-March 2018, at 2,600 added, showed the lowest number of honey bee colonies added in 2018.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 1,300 colonies. During April-June 2018, 64,000 colonies were renovated, the highest number of colonies renovated during 2018. The lowest number of honey bee colonies renovated for any quarter, at 10, occurred during January-March 2018. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all four quarters in 2018. The quarter of July-September 2018 showed the highest percentage of varroa mites in 2018, at 52.6 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January-March 2019 were 6.9 percent.

Minnesota

Honey bee colonies for operations with 5 or more colonies in Minnesota as of January 1, 2019, totaled 17,000 colonies. This is 56 percent below the 39,000 colonies on January 1 last year and 80 percent below the 84,000 colonies during the October-December 2018 quarter. Producers boosted their January 1 inventory by moving colonies into Minnesota and adding colonies to a maximum of 43,000 during the January-March 2019 quarter. Since January 2018 the July-September 2018 quarter had the largest maximum number of colonies, with 127,000, while January-March 2019 had the smallest maximum number of colonies with 43,000.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with 5 or more colonies for the January-March 2019 quarter was 2,200 colonies or 5 percent. This was the fewest colonies lost since January 2018 and was down 44 percent from the same period last year and 81 percent below losses reported during the October-December 2018 quarter. Since January 2018 the largest number and percentage of the colonies lost occurred in the July-September 2018 quarter with 29,000 colonies or 23 percent lost.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during three of the four quarters of 2018. However, other reasons were the leading stressor for the January-March 2019 quarter at 2.0 percent, while Varroa Mites were 1.3 percent.

Iowa

Honey bee colonies for operations with 5 or more colonies in Iowa as of January 1, 2019, totaled 7,500 colonies. This is 82 percent below the 41,000 colonies on January 1 last year, and 64 percent below the 21,000 colonies during the October-December 2018 quarter. Producers boosted their January 1 inventory by moving colonies into Iowa and adding colonies to a maximum of 11,500 during the January-March 2019 quarter. Since January 2018 the July-September 2018 quarter had the largest maximum number of colonies, with 57,000, while January-March 2019 quarter had the smallest maximum number of colonies with 11,500.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with 5 or more colonies for the January-March 2019 quarter was 1,600 or 14 percent. This was 9 percentage points above the same period last year but 6 percentage points below losses reported during the October-December 2018 quarter. Since January 2018 the largest percentage of the colonies lost, at 20 percent, or 4,200 colonies, occurred in the October-December 2018 quarter. The January-March 2019 quarter had the fewest number of colonies lost, at 1,600 colonies.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with 5 or more colonies since January 2018. The January-March 2019 quarter showed varroa mites affected 34.8 percent of Iowa’s honey bee colonies, which is the second highest level since January 2018. Other Pests and Parasites, Diseases, Pesticides, and Other Causes categories all saw sharp declines in percent stressed in the January-March 2019 quarter from the October-December 2018 quarter.

Nebraska

LINCOLN, N.D. — Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in Nebraska as of January 1, 2019 totaled 13,500 according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. During 2018, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 6,500, 10,500, 52,000, and 45,000, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 2,500 colonies or 15 percent lost. The quarter of July-September 2018, at 6,500 or 12 percent, showed the highest number of lost honey bee colonies of any quarter in 2018. The quarter of January-March 2018 had a loss of 430 colonies or 3 percent, the lowest number of honey bee colonies lost in 2018.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. The quarter of July-September 2018, added 8,500 colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter in 2018. The quarter of January- March 2018, at 0 added, showed the lowest number of honey bee colonies added during 2018.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2019, was 0 colonies. During July-September 2018, 5,000 colonies were renovated, the highest number of colonies renovated during 2018. The lowest number of honey bee colonies renovated for any quarter of 2018, at 0, occurred during January-March 2018. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during three of the four quarters of 2018. The quarter of July-September 2018 showed the highest percentage of varroa mites during 2018, at 24.1 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January-March 2019 was 32.3 percent.

United States

Honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in the United States on January 1, 2019 totaled 2.67 million colonies, up 1 percent from January 1, 2018. During 2018, honey bee colonies on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 were 2.64 million, 2.67 million, 2.96 million, and 2.87 million colonies, respectively.

Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2019, was 408 thousand colonies, or 15 percent. During the quarter of October through December 2018, colonies lost totaled 445 thousand colonies, or 16 percent, the highest number lost of any quarter in 2018. The quarter in 2018 with the lowest number of colonies lost was April through June, with 355 thousand colonies lost, or 13 percent.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2019 was 248 thousand colonies. During the quarter of April through June 2018, 676 thousand colonies were added, the highest number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2018. The quarter of October through December 2018 added 220 thousand colonies, the least number of honey bee colonies added for any quarter of 2018.

Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies from January through March 2019 was 180 thousand colonies, or 7 percent. The quarter in 2018 with the highest number of colonies renovated was April through June with 740 thousand colonies renovated, or 28 percent. The quarter in 2018 with the lowest number of colonies renovated was October through December 2018, with 155 thousand, or 5 percent. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through a nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during all quarters of 2018. The quarter of April through June 2018 had the highest percentage of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites at 56.4 percent. The percent of colonies reported to be affected by varroa mites during January through March 2019 were 45.6 percent.

Honey bee colonies lost with Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms on operations with five or more colonies was 59.9 thousand colonies from January through March 2019. This is a 26 percent decrease from the same quarter of 2018.