Greg Lewbart


Hot Topic Article: Winter Loss Survey 2012 – 2013: Preliminary Results: Preliminary Results: Honey Bee Colony Losses in the United States, Winter 2012-2013.

June 8, 2013

Tags: Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Nathalie Steinhauer, Karen Rennich, Jeffery Pettis, Eugene J. Lengerich, David Tarpy, Keith S. Delaplane, Angela M. Spleen, James T. Wilkes, Robyn Rose, Kathleen Lee, Michael Wilson, John Skinner, and Dewey M. Caron for the Bee Informed Partnership. 2013.

A multi-institutional group of experts provide a summary of preliminary results on honey bee colony losses this past winter. While the 2012-2013 losses (approx. 31% of over 2.6 million colonies) ) exceeded those of the previous winter by over 40% they were consistent with the average colony loss since the winter of 2006-2007. Most professional beekeepers consider a 15% winter loss acceptable.

The Bee Informed Partnership (, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),is releasing preliminary results for the seventh annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. For the 2012/2013 winter season, a total of 6,287 U.S. beekeepers provided validated responses. Collectively, responding beekeepers managed 599,610 colonies in October 2012, representing about 22.9%1 of the country’s estimated 2.62million colonies.

Preliminary survey results indicate that 31.1% of managed honey bee colonies in the
United States were lost during the 2012/2013 winter. This represents an increase in loss of 9.2 points or 42% over the previous 2011/2012 winter’s total losses that were
estimated at 21.9% (Figure 1). This level of loss is on par with the 6 year average total
loss of 30.5%2.

On average, U.S. beekeepers lost 45.1% of the colonies in their operation during the
winter of 2012/2013. This is a 19.8 point or 78.2% increase in the average operational
loss compared to the previous winter (2011/2012), which was estimated at 25.3%. The
difference between average loss and total loss is explained by the respondent pool: while a majority of the respondents (95%) were backyard beekeepers, they managed a small fraction of the colonies represented in the survey (6%). For this reason total loss (which is more heavily influenced by commercial beekeeper losses) is more representative of national losses.

Survey participants indicated that they considered a loss rate of 15% as “acceptable,” but 70% of them suffered losses greater than this.

1 Based on NASS 2012 figures
2 Previous survey results found a total colony loss in the winters of 21.9% in the winter of 2011/2012, 30% in 2010/2011, 34% in 2009/2010, 29% in 2008/2009, 36% in 2007/2008, and 32% in 2006/2007 (see figure attached)

The Bee Informed Partnership is funded by the National Institute of Food and
Agriculture, USDA.

Participating Institutions:

1. University of Maryland; 717-884-2147;
2. USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory
3. The Pennsylvania State University,
4. North Carolina State University
5. University of Georgia
6. Appalachian State University
7. Robyn Rose, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,
8. University of Minnesota
9. University of Tennessee
10. Oregon state University (Posted May 2, 2013)

Selected Works

Science Writing
The Second Edition of Invertebrate Medicine was released in December, 2011. It has been substantially expanded from the first edition to reflect the tremendous growth of the pertinent literature and work that is being accomplished in the fields of invertebrate animal medicine, disease investigation, conservation, husbandry, and animal welfare. In 2012 it is being recognized with a Text and Academic Authors Association TEXTY award for excellence in the Life Sciences Category and first place in the Health Care Professionals (nonphysicians) category of the 2012 American Medical Writers Association Book Awards.
This book, edited by Karen L. Rosenthal, Neil A. Forbes, Frederic L. Frye, and Gregory A. Lewbart, utilizes approximately 400 clinical cases to describe and address many of the major medical and surgical conditions of exotic animal pets.
Invertebrate Medicine is the single most comprehensive resource available today on invertebrate animal medicine.
" will without doubt want to own this excellent collection of questions from fish veterinarians on both sides of the Atlantic...." --David Williams, The Veterinary Journal
Creative Non-Fiction
"This is a delightful book. The stories, each amazingly different, are told with warmth, humor and sensitivity. They are sometimes sad, always captivating. It is a book you can dip into on a journey or read before sleep at night. Buy it and give copies to your friends." Jane Goodall
“....a darn good yarn.”
--Ken Moore, Naples Daily News
“...well-told and environmentally informative story about buried treasure and smuggling of exotic animals...”
--Rod Cockshutt, The News & Observer