The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be gathering information in the coming month to assess the health and quantity of honey bee colonies. The survey will cover honey production and stocks and costs to farmers of pollination services. The numbers will be used to establish baseline data that can be used to establish further goals, including prevention of colony loss during winter.
“These new data will be crucial to measuring and understanding the current state of the pollinator industry in the United States,” said NASS Administrator Joseph Reilly. “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.”
Beekeepers should expect to receive two surveys from NASS. They will receive the existing Bee and Honey Inquiry, which surveys beekeepers about honey production, price, and stocks, but not colony health. NASS will continue to conduct that survey, the results of which are slated for release in March 2016, and which are archived at www.nass.usda.gov. Beekeepers will also receive a new survey from NASS, which the agency will use to publish state-level estimates on key topics, including number of colonies, colonies lost, colonies added, and colonies affected by certain stressors. The first results of these surveys will be published in May 2016.
NASS also has plans for surveying farmers about crops pollinated, number of colonies needed for pollination and the costs of those colonies. Results of those surveys are expected to be published in December of 2016.