USDA surveys will assess honey bee health

Beekeepers and farmers may be contacted through the end of January by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to participate in surveys about the health of honey bee colonies around the country, honey production and stocks, and the cost to farmers of pollination services.

“These new data will be crucial to measuring and understanding the current state of the pollinator industry in the United States,” NASS Administrator Joseph Reilly said. “Honey beekeepers are encouraged to participate in the surveys so that policy makers have a robust data source to make informed decisions and protect our struggling pollinators.”

Honey bee pollination accounts for more than $15 billion in agricultural crops each year and helps Americans to have fruits, nuts and vegetables in ample supply on their dinner plates. However, the honey bee population has declined almost 40 percent in the last year.

Beekeepers will receive two surveys – one that asks beekeepers about honey production, price and stocks, but not bee colony health. The first round of results of this study will be available in March.

The second survey will be used to publish state-level estimates on key topics, including number of colonies, colonies lost, colonies added, and colonies affected by certain stressors. The first round of results of this survey will be available in May.

The surveys are part of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators which is a plan to work with the federal government and partners to address pollinator populations.

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United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20250

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