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Recent Deaths of U.S. Honey Bees Declining June 5, 2009
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Average loss from all causes dropped to just under 30 percent from September 2008 to April 2009.
Honey bee losses across the U.S. appear to be on the decrease after sharp declines from colony collapse disorder (CCD) and other causes in recent years.

An average of 29 percent of bees have died from all causes in hives nationwide since last September — somewhat less than the losses of about 36 percent from 2007-08 and 32 percent from 2006-07.

"While the drop in losses is encouraging, losses of this magnitude are economically unsustainable for commercial beekeeping," said Jeff Pettis, research leader of the Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

About 26 percent of apiaries surveyed reported that some of their colonies died of CCD, down from 36 percent of apiaries in 2007-2008.

CCD is characterized by the sudden, complete absence of honey bees in a colony. The cause of CCD is still unknown.

Photo: Jeff Pettis - ARS