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Virginia honey bee colonies up 23 percent since 2016

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that honey bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies in Virginia as of January 1, 2017 totaled 8,000.

virginia honey beeThis is 23 percent above the 6.500 colonies on January 1, 2016. Surveys were done by the Virginia Field Office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

During 2016, honey bee colonies on April 1July 1, and October 1 were 6,000, 8,000, and 7,000, respectively, and April 1, 2017 were 8,500. Honey bee colonies lost for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2017, were 1,400 colonies or 18 percent lost, the highest honey bee colonies loss of the six quarters. The quarter of April-June 2016, at 230 colonies or 4 percent, showed the least amount of lost honey bee colonies.

Honey bee colonies added for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2017 were 1,900 colonies. The quarter of April-June 2017 added 3,100 colonies, the highest number of honey bee colonies added of the six quarters. The quarter of October-December 2016 added 230 colonies, the lowest number of honey bee colonies added. Honey bee colonies renovated for operations with five or more colonies during the quarter of January-March 2017 were 280. The lowest number of honey bee colonies renovated of the six quarters was October-December 2016 with just 10 colonies. The number of colonies added during the quarter of April-June 2017 was 1,100, the highest number of honey bee colonies renovated. Renovated colonies are those that were requeened or received new honey bees through nuc or package.

Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations with five or more colonies during each of the quarters surveyed. The quarter of January-March 2017 showed Varroa mites at 21.4 percent. The quarter of July-September 2016 experienced the highest percentage of the six quarters at 39.1 percent. The quarter of April-June 2017, at 19.8 percent, was the lowest percentage.

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