In 1950, in the United States, there were approximately 5.5 million colonies of honey bees.
Now in 2017, there are around 2.5 million. Loss of habitat, change in agricultural practices, changing pest pressures and other factors have contributed to this decline.
In 2006, what is known as CCD (colony collapse disorder) came on the scene. CCD was so named because of the unexplained dying off of honey bee colonies, even though they had plenty of stores of honey and pollen. Because of CCD, winter losses among beekeepers have been higher than normal. Some possible causes were thought to be the following: varroa mites, diseases, pesticides, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and commercial and unnatural beekeeping practices.
It can be challenging keeping bees in the 21st century. Beekeepers managing colonies in the US must cope with a myriad of issues. It takes knowledge, skill, and perseverance to overcome these challenges and be a successful beekeeper.