The number of honey bee colonies fell by 16% in the winter of 2017-18, according to an international study led by the University of Strathclyde.

The survey of 25,363 beekeepers in 36 countries found that, out of 544,879 colonies being managed at the start of winter, 89124 were lost, through a combination of circumstances including various effects of weather conditions, unsolvable problems with a colony’s queen, and natural disaster.

Portugal, Northern Ireland, Italy and England experienced losses above 25%, while Belarus, Israel and Serbia were among those with loss rates below 10%. There were also significant regional variations within some countries, including Germany, Sweden and Greece.

The total loss rate was down from 20.9% in 2016-17 but was still higher than the 2015-16 figure of 12.0%. The total loss rate for Scotland increased over these three years, from 18.0% to 20.4% to 23.7%.

Read more at University of Strathclyde