Bee numbers in spring 2017

Asked June 7, 2017, 3:22 PM EDT

I'm seeing very few honeybees and no bumblebees in my garden this spring. Last year, I would see 8-10 bumblebees working my flowers and a dozen or so honeybees. I'm wondering if it's just a "bad bee year" or if there's another cause like pesticides. I live in a neighborhood on the north edge of Corvallis and have many blooms right now that normally would attract many pollinators.

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

It is tricky to compare native bee (e.g. bumble bees) populations between years with anecdotal evidence. For honey bee populations there is data available from systematic surveys conducted over the years. Our 2016-17 honey bee colony loss survey showed that the commercial beekeepers in Oregon lost on average about 25% of their colonies. For some beekeepers the colony losses ranged up to 50%. The year 2016-17 was not a good year for many beekeepers due to high incidence of parasitic mite (Varroa) and also due to frequent freezing spells.