This article at NPR describes the huge loses beekeepers have suffered this year. Here at out apiary in the foothills of northern California, our losses were about 30%, which we believe was due to our beekeeper's vigilance and a certain amount of luck.
There are several reasons for such a huge loss this year, such as chemicals, loss of wildflowers, climate change, nutrition, and viruses, but the number one reason is a new type of insect attacking bee's, the Varroa Mite, which feeds on the bee. The early warm spring caused bees to start laying brood early, giving the mite a chance to attack the young. Then cold, rainy weather arrived for may, weakening the bees who could not fly and feed during the rain.
We, like many beekeepers, have rebuilt our hives, which now stand at 25. We are not into moving the hives to aid farmers in pollination. That is a lucrative business for beekeepers, but we want to sell pure "local" honey and thus, keep our hives at our Garden Valley location all year. The bees feed on the local flora gathering nectar and pollen to build their colonies. If you live within a couple of miles of our nursery you have seen our bees visiting your flowers, they won't bother you, as they are on a mission. We have started to harvest our honey, which is golden and delicious, and will have it for sale starting this weekend at the nursery!