U.S. honeybee colonies reach a 20-year high

The Washington Post today reports “U.S. honeybee colonies hit a 20-year high”. It seems that skilled commercial bee-keepers are the ones in decline, rather than their commercial honey bee colonies.

Wild bees are a different matter, of course. But there’s a glimmer of optimism in some recent U.S. research, reported this week as “Rare Bumble Bee Makes Comeback In Pacific Northwest”. The researchers suggest that certain wild bumblebees may be building resistance to a parasitic fungus that’s been attacking them. So far that’s not been enough to do more than bring back some isolated populations, which may not be viable in the long-run (insect abundance is highly cyclical and sensitive to natural seasonal fluctuations such as occasional dry winters or wet summers), but it’s an encouraging sign.

Bee Safe is an excellent and even-handed bee health blog that tracks such news, should you want to keep up with the news on such matters.