There are bees everywhere here, covering all the lily pads and edges of the pond, the bird bath, all the chicken waterers, the wildlife water tank, buckets we keep for chicken waterer replenishment, and the 2 large waterers dedicated especially to the bees. In this heat, they are totally focused on taking water back to the hive to fan the queen and brood cells to keep them alive. We people and dogs walk thru clouds of bees anywhere near the waterers but are never stung. Actually, I've never BEEN stung by our bees except by accident, as when I pick up the hose with a bee on it, or put my hand down on one when I am grooming the pond plants. They really only sting when they are protecting the hive, and we don't even know where that is.
We originally got the small box-starter-hive (I can't remember what it is called) and put it down on the second bank of the wash under a tree. When their numbers were too many for it, some left and colonized elsewhere. I wanted to buy the hives and all and harvest honey, but DH didn't. He just wanted them for natural pollination. So, by this time there have been several generations of them, and they are, I guess you could say, feral bees.
I sure don't see any evidence of a big die-off, but their hives are obviously not full of chemicals put there by the beekeeper to control mites, and they are not forced to drink irrigation tailwater full of agricultural(boy is that a misnomer) chemicals. And I HAVE heard that the die-off is confined to commercial beekeepers that DO use chemicals, and beekeepers who manage their bees as organically as possible have had no problems. Wonder why the media doesn't report more of that!
AJ in AZ