The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the number of Michigan honey bee colonies is on the rise:
The number of honey bee colonies in Michigan rose about 16 percent over the last year. About 25,000 colonies existed at the beginning of 2016 in a census of operations with five or more colonies, according to the National Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The comparable number on Jan. 1, 2017, was 29,000 colonies.
Varroa mites were the primary stressor of Michigan colonies over the last five quarters. They affected only 5.9 percent of the state’s bee colonies in the first quarter of 2016, but 64.1 percent of colonies in the third quarter of 2016. The Varroa mite is an external parasite that attaches to bees and weakens them.
The total number of bee colonies in the U.S. sank slightly during 2016, but held relatively steady at about 2.62 million colonies.
Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms were observed in more than 84,000 bee colonies in the U.S. from January through March 2017, a 27% increase from the same quarter of 2016.