I have heard that a large bee outfit is suffering as much as a 50% loss after ME blueberries. I hear of some beekeepers having as much as 20% dieback after coming North from FL. Another beekeeper coming out of blueberries in NJ has had significant dieback.
When I have losses there isn't a whole lot of mystery why. Starvation, aka beekeeper neglect, was the primary cause of "winterloss" in my outfit, along w/ all the other maladies such as drone layers and queen loss due to transportation. I have around 500 colonies.
Take this as me being judgemental if you feel the need, but, are some beekeepers keeping more bees than they can properly attend to? Are they getting into the brood nest looking at brood combs to see what is going on? Or are they simply popping covers, "yup, there are bees there." and tilting hives forwards to look below, "bees there too."? How good is their help? How good is the nutrition being put in the hives? Are mite treatments applied when needed, at the most right time possible, and in rotation so as not to promote resistance?
And what is the source and quality of replacement hives? What has been done to hives bought by the semi load before the new owner gets them? What are the rest of the sources' hives like? Is the source lossing bees too?
Plenty of times I have seen bees bought that aren't kept the same way as they were in the previous persons hands and they go down hill or die. How much does one know about what their seller was doing to keep their bees alive and is the new owner willing and able to do the same?
All of these losses I keep hearing about just make me wonder. I know I need to do better if I want better. What are y'all doing?