Honey Bee Surveys and Reports

NASS has collected statistics on the number of honey bee colonies and U.S. honey production for decades as part of the Census of Agriculture and in annual estimates. In order to build an even more robust scientific body of knowledge on honey bees at USDA, NASS began in 2016 to collect data on honey bee health and pollination costs. Reliable, up-to-date statistics help track honey bee mortality.

NASS surveys and resulting reports are:

Latest Reports

For more information on U.S. honey bee reports, contact Livestock Branch at (202) 720-3570.
More…About Our Honey Bee Surveys and Reports

Bee and Honey Inquiry Survey and resulting annual Honey report

  • NASS has conducted the Bee and Honey Inquiry survey annually since 1986. This report includes the number of colonies producing honey, yield per colony, honey production, average price, price by color class and value as well as honey stocks at the state and national levels.
  • In 2016, NASS made several changes to its Bee and Honey survey. The survey now includes new questions on the basic economics of beekeeping beyond honey production. These new questions gather information about income from pollination and other activities as well as expenses related to colony health, wintering, and employees.
  • 2016 also marks the first time NASS is collecting data from honey bee operations of all sizes. In the past, we only surveyed honey bee operations with five colonies or more. Now we collect the following data from operations with fewer than five colonies: number of honey producing colonies, yield per colony, and production. This newly collected information is reported separately and therefore does not alter the current honey data series.
  • In 2017, NASS combined the annual Colony Loss and the Bee and Honey Small Operations Production, Disposition, and Income surveys into one survey to streamline data collection and reduce the burden on respondents. The name of the new survey is Bee and Honey Production and Loss Inquiry.
  • The Honey report includes state-level data on number of honey producing colonies, honey production and price by color class and marketing channel, for operations with five or more colonies. Data for operations with fewer than five colonies are published at the national level.

Colony Loss Survey and resulting Honey Bee Colonies report

  • NASS conducted the Colony Loss Survey for the first time in 2015. The survey collects the information called for in the White House Pollinator Health Task Force’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. It provides a statistical benchmark on colony numbers and death loss.
  • NASS surveyed 3,300 beekeeping operations with five or more colonies quarterly, following their operations throughout the year. In addition, NASS surveyed a sample of 20,000 beekeepers with fewer than five colonies annually. Data collected cover the state in which colonies are located, movement of colonies between states, newly added or replaced colonies, number of colonies lost and renovated, and presence of colony stressors and specific signs of illness.
  • To qualify for the survey sample, a beekeeper had to meet the definition of a farm, which is a place that sold or would normally have sold $1,000 of agricultural product in a year.
  • The responses allow data users for the first time to differentiate patterns between small-scale and commercial beekeepers, analyze data on a state-by-state basis, and compare specific quarterly losses, additions and renovations.
  • The report includes colonies lost with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) symptoms. Losses reported in this category must meet all of four criteria of CCD: 1) Little to no build-up of dead bees in the hive or at the hive entrance, 2) Rapid loss of adult honey bee population despite the presence of queen, capped brood, 3) Absence or delayed robbing of the food reserves, and 4) Loss not attributable to varroa or nosema loads.

Cost of Pollination Survey

  • NASS launched the Cost of Pollination surveys in 2016 to track the cash fees associated with honey bee pollination. It asks crop producers about their use of honey bees to pollinate their crops. We published the first-ever Cost of Pollination report in late 2016.