Bee production

CHARLESTON – Honeybee operations in West Virginia are ahead of last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s statistical service counted 8,000 colonies in the state on April 1, up from 7,200 on Jan. 1 and ahead of 2020’s totals.

For 2020, the service, called NASS, showed 7,500 colonies on Oct. 1, 8,000 on July 1, 7,500 on April 1 and 6,000 on Jan. 1.

Honeybee colonies are counted for operators with 5 colonies or more.

Those operators lost 16% of their colonies – 1,600 – in the 1st 3 months of 2021 and another 2%, or 170, between April and June.

Quarterly losses in 2020 ranged between 7% and 14%.

Beekeepers added 1,900 colonies in the 2nd quarter of 2021 and renovated 390 more. Numbers for the 1st quarter were 1,700 added and 720 renovated.

A year ago in April, May and June, beekeepers added 1,600 colonies and renovated 1,500, making it the busiest quarter of 2020.

Varroa mites were the No. 1 stressor for operations during all quarters in 2020. From April to June 2020, 46.2% of colonies were affected by varroa mites That percentage dropped to 5.2 in the same 3 months of this year.

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