Experts say that this year the honeybee die-off has been as high as 50 percent nationally. Some beekeepers were not even that lucky: they lost 75 percent or even all of their bees. This comes now year after year of heavy losses for beekeepers. Colony collapse has devastated honeybee populations since it first appeared in 2006.
California produces 80% of the worlds almonds. They need to bring in over 1 million bee hives every year to help pollinate the trees in late February. And this year there may not be enough bees to do the job.
"We have smaller populations in the hives and higher winter losses," said Eric Mussen, a bee specialist at the entomology department of University of California, Davis. "Bees across the country are not in as good a shape as last year. When you stress them far enough, the bees just give in."
I have not checked on all of my hives yet, but I suspect that I am in to 50% loss range. This is why urban beekeeping is important. We need to create local strains of bees that are adapted to our climate and naturally resistant these diseases and parasites that are currently plaguing them.