NOW LIVE! The 2018-2019 Colony Loss and Management Survey

Bee Informed Partnership Beekeeper News.jpg

Good morning America!

It’s beautiful outside! The birds are chirping and the bees are flying! You may even notice a few flowers outside too!

Here in the South, our many azaleas are in full bloom! This means Spring is upon us! 

Auburn University.jpg

The sun rising over the campus of Auburn University

And of course, Spring means one thing: it’s time to take the Bee Informed Partnership’s annual Colony Loss and Management Survey!

It’s easy! One click and you are in, ready to take the survey and to serve our nation’s beekeeping industry:

TAKE THE SURVEY TODAY!

The information that you provide will be invaluable to our understanding of honey bee health around the country.

As background, the BIP’s National Loss Survey was launched for the first time in 2006, and thanks to the many thousands of beekeepers who have participated since then, we have been able to document and better understand long-term honey bee colony loss trends. Check out the interactive state loss map as evidence!

In 2010, BIP’s National Management Survey was added to help us understand how management practices are potentially linked to colony survivorship. Thanks to your answers, we have been able to develop a dynamic management data tool.

Feel free to play around with the interface. Want to know how colony losses compared between beekeepers that DID or DID NOT use a varroa treatment? Or what about the average age of comb in American hives? It’s all in there!

Bee Informed Survey 2019.png

The Bee Informed Partnership’s dynamic management, data explorer tool

If you would like to prepare yourself for our questions, or want to take some notes while you’re looking at your colonies, download the survey or have a look at the 2018 – 2019 National Colony Loss and Management Survey Preview.

This preview should serve as an aid to the questions that are asked on the survey.  Please, do not mail this preview version back to us.

When you are ready: TAKE THE SURVEY NOW!

Many thanks to all previous participants, and to all you new-Bees for taking some time out of your busy schedule to fill out this year’s survey.

Your contribution is supporting research efforts at a national scale that are aimed to promote the health of our honey bees!

https://beeinformed.org/

University of California to Measure Economic Impact of Honey Industry

Project Apis m.     May 17, 2018

Industry can promote its economic contributions – but only if beekeepers, importers, packers and processors participate in study.

FREDERICK, Colo. (May 16, 2018) – From beekeepers and honey importers to packers and processors, the honey industry plays a unique and vital role in the U.S. economy.  To illustrate the industry’s true impact, the University of California is asking business owners to complete a short survey. The questionnaire will measure the economic impact of all aspects of the honey industry by calculating the number of jobs the industry creates and its total economic activity.   

The questionnaire’s data will be used to create a final report that showcases the role of the honey industry in the broader U.S. economy as well as its impact on regional economies throughout the country.

To accurately assess this large and varied industry, the University of California is looking to the businesses that make up the honey industry to take part in the questionnaire. The information will be entirely confidential, with the survey conducted online through a secure form without personally-identifiable information. Participants have until Friday, June 15, 2018 to complete the survey.

“The University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis is committed to helping agricultural organizations better understand their economic impact,” said Project Scientist Dr. Bill Matthews. “We’re looking forward to quantifying the honey industry’s important role within the U.S. economy.”

To participate in the U.S. Honey Industry Impact Questionnaire, please visit the US Honey Economic Impact Survey before June 15, 2018.

“The honey industry makes significant contributions to the US economy,” said Margaret Lombard, CEO of the National Honey Board. “Finally being able to quantify our impact the way other industries have will allow us to generate goodwill for our industry’s many contributions.”

To learn more about the University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis, please visit https://aic.ucdavis.edu. For more information on the National Honey Board, please visit www.honey.com.

About National Honey Board
The National Honey Board (NHB) is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. The Board’s work, funded by an assessment on domestic and imported honey, is designed to increase the awareness and usage of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers. The ten-member-Board, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, represents producers (beekeepers), packers, importers and a marketing cooperative. For more information, visit www.honey.com.

About University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis
The University of California Agricultural Issues Center (AIC) was established in 1985 to research and analyze crucial trends and policy issues affecting agriculture and interlinked natural and human resources in California and the West. The Center, which consists of a director, several associate directors, a small professional staff and an Advisory Board, provides independent and objective research-based information on a range of critical, emerging agricultural issues such as food and agricultural commodity markets, the value of agricultural research and development, farm costs and returns, consequences of food and agricultural policy and rural resources and the environment. The audience for AIC research and outreach includes decision makers in industry, non-governmental organizations and governments as well as scholars, journalists, students and the general public.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: 
Jessica Schindler: Media@nhb.org, (303) 776-2337

https://www.projectapism.org/project-apis-m-blog/university-of-california-to-measure-economic-impact-of-honey-industry

2017-2018 Colony Loss & Management Survey - NOW LIVE!

The 2017-2018 Colony Loss & Management Survey – NOW LIVE! MARCH 31, 2018

Our survey and a lovely coffee always go hand-in-hand!And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke! 

Our survey and a lovely coffee always go hand-in-hand!

You’re busy! We know that. You’re out catching swarms, picking up packages, and checking your colonies!

So grab a coffee or tea, sit down, relax, AND…

…take the Survey Today!

The information that you provide will be invaluable to our understanding of honey bee health around the country.

As background, the BIP’s National Loss Survey was launched for the first time in 2006, and thanks to the many thousands of beekeepers who have participated since then, we have been able to document and better understand long-term honey bee colony loss trends. Check out the interactive state loss map as evidence!

Members of the Auburn University Bee Lab hard at work producing paper-versions of the survey.In 2010, BIP’s National Management Survey was added to help us understand how management practices are potentially linked to colony survivorship. Thanks to your answers, we have been able to develop a dynamic management data tool. Feel free to play around with the interface. Want to know how colony losses compared between beekeepers that DID or DID NOT use a varroa treatment? Or what about the average age of comb in colonies? It’s all there!

This year, our colleagues at Auburn University in Sweet Home Alabama have coordinated the survey. We’re really happy to have them on board!

Please help us to develop more helpful tools for you by clicking the link below to take this years’ National Colony Loss and Management Survey.

Take the survey now!

Older comb is usually darker than younger comb, and may contain higher levels of pesticide residues and parasites such as spores of Nosema.If you would like to prepare yourself for our questions, or want to take some notes while you’re looking at your colonies, download this PDF to have a look at the 2017 – 2018 National Colony Loss and Management Survey Preview. Note that this preview should serve as an aid to the questions that are asked on the survey. Please, do not mail this preview version back to us. Please take the online survey!

Many thanks to all previous participants, and to all you new-Bees for taking some time out of your busy schedule to fill out this year’s survey.

Written By: The Bee Informed Team: The Bee Informed Partnership is a collaboration of efforts across the country from some of the leading research labs and universities in agriculture and science to better understand honey bee declines in the United States. Supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, we’re working with beekeepers to better understand how we can keep healthier bees. The key to our success is the true partnership we maintain across a wide range of disciplines including traditional honey bee science, economics, statistics, and medical research that makes all these tools available to this important research. And just as important as the tools are the people. We not only have the leading researchers in the honey bee industry, we also have advisory boards from the commercial beekeeping industries, almond and other commercial growers, as well as naturalists and conservationists from across the country.

https://beeinformed.org/2018/03/31/the-2017-2018-colony-loss-management-survey-now-live/

'Varroa Destructor Virus-1: It’s Here…'

By Karen Rennich  October 10, 2017

One of the best things about working in research is that it never fails to surprise – for good or for bad. And occasionally, it is not until much later that the surprise comes. In this case, the “surprise” arrived in the form of another Varroa-vectored, RNA virus, Varroa Destructor Virus-1, or VDV1.

Our University of Maryland lab has been leading the APHIS National Honey Bee Pest and Pathogen survey since 2010. During those years, we have processed thousands of samples from across most states for nosema spore load, Varroa load, pesticides, and viruses with the primary goal to survey whether exotics, not known to be in the US, are here or not. Secondarily, but almost as importantly, we also use the survey results to establish a nationwide honey bee health baseline. It cannot be overstated how important that baseline is, nor how vital archiving all of those samples are. In the case of viral samples, they are archived in a large -80C freezer at the USDA-ARS Beltsville Lab just down the road from us.

Dr. Eugene Ryabov, working at USDA-ARS with Dr. Jay Evans, decided to take a look into our archive freezer with the intent of re-processing those archived samples for VDV1. And we are glad that he did.  After doing a sweep of 2016 samples, he found VDV1 in >64% of all samples, making it just less prevalent and second only to Deformed Wing Virus (currently found in ~90% of all colonies). Reaching further back into that freezer, Dr. Ryabov found that only 2 colonies were positive from our 2010 survey samples – 1 in Indiana and 1 in Pennsylvania, and that temporal snapshot [below] shows the spread of this virus in just 6 years.

 

VDV1 is a species of RNA viruses under the genus iflavirus. Other iflaviruses include Sacbrood virus, Slow Bee Paralysis virus and its closest relative, Deformed Wing virus. Because we have methodically stored all historic samples, it will be possible, looking at the variants of this virus in the US and the world, to possibly help resolve how and when this virus arrived on our shores.  It is important to note that this virus is also present in Hawaii (the Big Island) so it has already migrated beyond the lower 48 states.

In addition to field samples, the APHIS National Survey also asks beekeepers to report colony loss numbers for the 3 months prior to being sampled. Using those losses, it may be possible to correlate those losses now with VDV1 infections and/or the levels of the virus present. This finding, and the further research it demands, provides a unique window into the forensics of this infection.

Additional information about this virus, the details used to screen for it and the possible risks to US honey bee colonies will be published in “Ryabov, E.V., Childers, A.K., Chen, Y., Madella, S., Nessa, A., vanEngelsdorp, D., Evans, J.D. (2017) Recent spread of Varroa destructor virus-1, a honey bee pathogen, in the United States. (Submitted)”.

The notice below was sent to all members of the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and American Association of Professional Apiculturists (AAPA) on October 2nd.

Presence of Varroa destructor virus in the U.S.

Using RNA sequencing methods, the honey bee virus Varroa destructor virus-1 (VDV1, also known as Deformed wing virus strain B) was discovered in US honey bee samples by Dr. Eugene Ryabov, while working in the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory (BRL) under the supervision of Drs. Jay Evans and Judy Chen. With guidance from the Bee Informed Partnership (University of Maryland, Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp) and USDA-APHIS (Dr. Robyn Rose), the BRL screened an extensive set of research samples along with U.S. bee samples collected during the USDA-APHIS National Honey Bee Disease survey.  This screening confirmed that VDV was widespread in the US in 2016 and far less common in 2010. Thanks to stored samples from the National Honey Bee Disease survey, it will now be possible to track the spread of this virus in the US and guide work for virus control in order to assure the good health of honey bees and maintain them as the primary pollinator of agricultural crops. There is no indication that VDV1 is significantly more virulent than DWV in US honey bees, and the advice to reduce levels of Varroa mites remains the same for both viruses. We are seeking to inform colleagues of this discovery primarily since VDV1 is not detectable using current genetic markers for DWV, and therefore laboratory methods will need to be tailored to detect this virus. Those involved with the National Honey Bee Disease Survey will notice that VDV1 is now a reported agent in this survey.

https://beeinformed.org/2017/10/10/varroa-destructor-virus-1-its-here/

Nation's Beekeepers Lost 33 Percent of Bees in 2016-17

May 26, 2017

Nation's Beekeepers Lost
33 Percent of Bees in 2016-17


Annual losses improved over last year;
winter losses lowest in survey history

Beekeepers across the United States lost 33 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2016 to April 2017, according to the latest preliminary results of an annual nationwide survey. Rates of both winter loss and summer loss--and consequently, total annual losses--improved compared with last year.

Total annual losses were the lowest since 2011-12, when the survey recorded less than 29 percent of colonies lost throughout the year. Winter losses were the lowest recorded since the survey began in 2006-07.

The survey, which asks both commercial and small-scale beekeepers to track the survival rates of their honey bee colonies, is conducted each year by the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America. Survey results for this year and all previous years are publicly available on the Bee Informed website.

"While it is encouraging that losses are lower than in the past, I would stop short of calling this 'good' news," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and project director for the Bee Informed Partnership. "Colony loss of more than 30 percent over the entire year is high. It's hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses."

Beekeepers who responded to the survey lost a total of 33.2 percent of their colonies over the course of the year. This marks a decrease of 7.3 percentage points over the previous study year (2015-16), when loss rates were found to be 40.5 percent. Winter loss rates decreased from 26.9 percent in the previous winter to 21.1 percent this past winter, while summer loss rates decreased from 23.6 percent to 18.1 percent.

The researchers noted that many factors are contributing to colony losses, with parasites and diseases at the top of the list. Poor nutrition and pesticide exposure are also taking a toll, especially among commercial beekeepers. These stressors are likely to synergize with each other to compound the problem, the researchers said.

"This is a complex problem," said Kelly Kulhanek, a graduate student in the UMD Department of Entomology who helped with the survey. "Lower losses are a great start, but it's important to remember that 33 percent is still much higher than beekeepers deem acceptable. There is still much work to do."

The number one culprit remains the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread between colonies. Mite levels in colonies are of particular concern in late summer, when bees are rearing longer-lived winter bees.

In the fall months of 2016, mite levels across the country were noticeably lower in most beekeeping operations compared with past years, according to the researchers. This is likely due to increased vigilance on the part of beekeepers, a greater availability of mite control products and environmental conditions that favored the use of timely and effective mite control measures. For example, some mite control products contain essential oils that break down at high temperatures, but many parts of the country experienced relatively mild temperatures in the spring and early summer of 2016.

This is the 11th year of the winter loss survey, and the seventh year to include summer and annual losses. More than 4,900 beekeepers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia responded to this year's survey. All told, these beekeepers manage about 13 percent of the nation's estimated 2.78 million honey bee colonies.

The survey is part of a larger research effort to understand why honey bee colonies are in such poor health, and what can be done to manage the situation. Some crops, such as almonds, depend entirely on honey bees for pollination. Honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops in the U.S. annually.

"Bees are good indicators of the health of the landscape as a whole," said Nathalie Steinhauer, a graduate student in the UMD Department of Entomology who leads the data collection efforts for the annual survey. "Honey bees are strongly affected by the quality of their environment, including flower diversity, contaminants and pests. To keep healthy bees, you need a good environment and you need your neighbors to keep healthy bees. Honey bee health is a community matter."


This summary chart shows the results of an 11-year annual survey that tracks honey bee
colony losses in the United States, spanning 2006-2017. Credit: University of Maryland/BeeInformed Partnership

Preliminary: 2016-2017 State Total and Average Losses

Bee Informed Partnership   Published May 26, 2017

The Bee Informed Partnership has released preliminary state losses for 2016-2017. If there are fewer than 5 respondents in a state, we will not release those numbers to preserve confidentiality. These tables represent Annual loss, Winter Loss and Summer Loss. We also report Total Loss and Average Loss.

For further details regarding the difference between Total and Average loss, please read on. The Bee Informed Partnership traditionally reports total loss, or a weighted loss rate. Total loss treats each colony the same or more simply stated, “One colony one vote.” This means that the total loss rate is more representative of commercial beekeeper loss as they manage a large majority of the colonies in the survey. The average loss rate, which we no longer report in our preliminary summary, is an unweighted rate where we calculate the loss rate for each responding beekeeper and average these rates. So average loss, more simply stated is, “One beekeeper, one vote.” As there are many more backyard beekeepers than commercial beekeepers, average loss rates are more influenced by these smaller beekeepers.

The Figure provide a heat map of Annual Total losses by state and in the tables below, N represents the number of beekeepers from that state answering those survey questions.

2016-2017 Total Annual Loss by State

2016-2017 Annual Loss by State or Territory:
https://beeinformed.org/2017/05/26/preliminary-2016-2017-state-total-and-average-losses/

2 Bee Informed Surveys - Deadline April 30, 2017

April 24, 2017



Dear Beekeeper:
 
We need your help. Please take 30 minutes out of your busy day to complete these two surveys. Both surveys are only open from 1 April through 30 April 2017.

Please click on the link below or paste it into your browser to participate in the National Loss and Management Survey:

http://26.selectsurvey.net/beeinformed/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=2017
 
The online survey is live now and will close on April 30th. PLEASE do not complete the survey more than once. Information about past Colony Loss and Management Surveys and the annual reports can be found online at http://beeinformed.org/.

We are excited to share our dynamic state map where you can view state losses from all years of the survey.  Please view this at: https://bip2.beeinformed.org/geo/. At that site, you will see annual, winter and summer losses as well as the number of participants and colony numbers for your state. Dynamic management reports that have resulted from previous years’ surveys can now be found at https://bip2.beeinformed.org/survey. This exciting data management explorer lets you and your beekeepers see what actionable practices are correlated with improving survivorship!

2015-2016 was the first winter in which Backyard beekeepers reported Varroa as a top cause of loss and 2015-2016 summer losses rivaled winter loss rates for the 2nd year in a row. These findings and trends are vitally important for the industry and we need your participation!

Some of you may be contacted independently by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the USDA to participate in their first quarterly colony loss survey. We encourage all beekeepers contacted by NASS to answer both BIP and NASS surveys. But we need your responses!

The Colony Loss Survey has evolved from our winter loss survey conducted 11 years ago. Now we monitor summer losses as well. The two surveys (Loss and Management) are aimed at looking for relationships between colony losses and colony management (including disease treatment strategies, supplemental feeding, etc.) and/or other factors that may influence colony health (such as colony location, honey production, and forage type). Your participation in this research is voluntary and your responses will be kept confidential. In any publication or presentation resulting from this research, no personally identifiable information will be disclosed.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at support@beeinformed.org.  Once again thank you for your participation.


Dennis vanEngelsdorp, President
Bee Informed Partnership, Inc.
University of Maryland


Karen Rennich, Executive Director
Bee Informed Partnership, Inc.
University of Maryland

One Week Left to Take the 2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey!

Written By: The Bee Informed Team    Posted: April 24, 2017

ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT to take the 2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey!

Take the Survey Today!

April 30th (this Sunday) is your last chance to participate in the 2016 – 2017 National Colony Loss and National Management Survey.

Taxes are finished so there is no excuse! Please pull up a chair, pour your favorite beverage and join us in sharing your data, your management strategy, your losses and accomplishments. There is NO TIME to wait. We need your help and YOU can make a difference.

The results that are received from this survey provide valuable information that help us obtain a clear picture of honey bee health throughout the country.

Have we said that we are grateful? We are! If you don’t want to do it for us, please do it for this lovely queen shown here. She needs your help too.

To help us continue this effort, click the link below to take the National Colony Loss and Management Survey for the 2016-2017 season:

Take the Survey Now!

If you would like to take a look at the 2016 – 2017 survey questions before beginning, or to download the survey so that you can take some notes before taking the survey online, click on the link below:

2016 – 2017 National Colony Loss and Management Survey Preview

This copy of the survey is meant to serve as an aid to the questions that will are being asked on the survey.  It is not meant to be mailed in as a hard copy submission.

We would like to thank everyone who has participated in this survey in the past and hope that you will be able to take some time out of your busy days to fill out the survey this year. You are what makes the survey successful and by taking the time to complete it, you are doing your part in contributing to the national research efforts to increase honey bee survivorship!

(The Bee Informed Partnership is a collaboration of efforts across the country from some of the leading research labs and universities in agriculture and science to better understand honey bee declines in the United States. Supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, we’re working with beekeepers to better understand how we can keep healthier bees. The key to our success is the true partnership we maintain across a wide range of disciplines including traditional honey bee science, economics, statistics, and medical research that makes all these tools available to this important research. And just as important as the tools are the people. We not only have the leading researchers in the honey bee industry, we also have advisory boards from the commercial beekeeping industries, almond and other commercial growers, as well as naturalists and conservationists from across the country.)

Take the Survey, more info, view comments: https://beeinformed.org/2017/04/24/one-week-left-to-take-the-2016-2017-colony-loss-and-management-survey/

2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey is Live: Take the Survey Today!

 

2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey is Live!

Take the Survey Today!

April 1st is just around the corner and for beekeepers, that means spring and the opening of the 2016 – 2017 National Colony Loss and National Management Survey. The results that are received from this survey provide valuable information that help us obtain a clear picture of honey bee health throughout the country.

The Loss survey began in 2006 and we added the National Management survey in 2010 and from both of those, we have been able to gain actionable information on which management practices work and which ones do not. By correlating management practices with colony losses between the two surveys we have been able to refine a model to develop the best management practices in beekeeping. Click Here to view our new data management explorer tool and read our our blog on how to use the app to view the loss/management correlations.

Without the aid of the many thousands of beekeepers who participate in this survey we would never be able to obtain the results that we have received in the past and hope to continue to receive in the future.

To help us continue this effort, click the link below to take the National Colony Loss and Management Survey for the 2016-2017 season:

Take the Survey Now!

If you would like to take a look at the 2016 – 2017 survey questions before beginning, or to download the survey so that you can take some notes before taking the survey online, click on the link below:

2016 – 2017 National Colony Loss and Management Survey Preview

This copy of the survey is meant to serve as an aid to the questions that will are being asked on the survey.  It is not meant to be mailed in as a hard copy submission.

We would like to thank everyone who has participated in this survey in the past and hope that you will be able to take some time out of your busy days to fill out the survey this year. You are what makes the survey successful and by taking the time to complete it, you are doing your part in contributing to the national research efforts to increase honey bee survivorship!

Written By: The Bee Informed Team has written 42 post in this blog.

The Bee Informed Partnership is a collaboration of efforts across the country from some of the leading research labs and universities in agriculture and science to better understand honey bee declines in the United States. Supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, we’re working with beekeepers to better understand how we can keep healthier bees. The key to our success is the true partnership we maintain across a wide range of disciplines including traditional honey bee science, economics, statistics, and medical research that makes all these tools available to this important research. And just as important as the tools are the people. We not only have the leading researchers in the honey bee industry, we also have advisory boards from the commercial beekeeping industries, almond and other commercial growers, as well as naturalists and conservationists from across the country.

https://beeinformed.org/2017/03/30/2016-2017-colony-loss-and-management-survey-is-live-take-the-survey-today/

National Management Survey Explorer App

Bee Informed Partnership   March 27, 2017   Winter Loss Survey

If you haven’t heard by now, the Bee Informed Partnership has been hosting an annual management survey for many years. The survey is data intensive and collects detailed information about many different aspects of beekeeping. The survey has reached tens of thousands of beekeepers and has spanned the better half of the last decade.

The survey has proved to be very successful and has generated a significant amount of data. Our team of researchers and technology professionals have spent many years analyzing this data to gain a clearer picture of honey bee health. Now, we want to make this data easily accessible to everyone by releasing a new app called the “National Management Survey Explorer”. You can start using the app today at https://bip2.beeinformed.org/survey.

Read more: https://beeinformed.org/2017/03/27/national-management-survey-app/

APHIS National Honey Bee Survey Message

APHIS National Honey Bee Survey     October 31, 2016

Dear Los Angeles County Beekeeper Association,

My name is Shayne Madella and I am the project coordinator for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) National Honey Bee Disease Survey. We are planning to take samples in the Southern California region in late November/early December and we are looking for new beekeeper participants in the region who are willing to volunteer to have samples taken. The APHIS NHBS is a national survey of honey bee pests and diseases that has been funded annually since 2009 by the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and conducted in collaboration with the University of Maryland, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and State Apiary Specialists. This national survey is being conducted in an attempt to document which bee diseases, parasites, or pests of honey bees are present and/or likely absent in the U.S. Specifically, this survey will attempt to verify the absence of the parasitic mite Tropilaelaps and other exotic threats to honey bee populations (e.g., Apis cerana and slow bee paralysis virus). To maximize the information gained from this survey effort, collected samples will be analyzed for other honey bee diseases and parasites known to be present in the U.S.

Additionally, funding is provided for this survey year for states to collect ~3 grams of pollen from brood frames that will be tested for >170 known pesticides. This pollen will be collected from the same composite 8 colonies undergoing the standard survey sampling and sent to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in Gastonia, NC for analysis. Each state is asked to send in composite samples of pollen from 10 of the 24 apiaries this year.

This cross-country survey continues to be the most comprehensive honey bee pest and health survey to date, and provides essential disease and pest load base line information. This information will help place current and future epidemiological studies in context and thus may indirectly help investigations of emerging conditions. The University of Maryland (UMD) is coordinating this survey in collaboration with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Lab (BRL) and APHIS.

The only requirement for the beekeeper is that they must have at least ten colonies in their apiary. Eight colonies will be sampled with an extra two in reserve if some colonies are not suitable for sampling. The beekeeper does not need to be on the property during sample besides letting the researchers into the apiary but we do enjoy the company.

For further information on the survey please consult the APHIS webpage on the survey below:

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/non-regulated/honey-bees/!ut/p/z1/04_iUlDg4tKPAFJABpSA0fpReYllmemJJZn5eYk5-hH6kVFm8X6Gzu4GFiaGPu6uLoYGjh6Wnt4e5mYGwa6m-l76UfgVFGQHKgIAB3fNrQ!!/

If you have any questions on this please contact me at my provided email address or at my cell phone number:

(240) 437-2874

Thank you,

Shayne Madella Faculty Research Assistant Bee Informed Partnership Department of Entomology 4112 Plant Science Building University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 (240) 437-2874

2015-2016 Colony Loss & Management Survey is Live! Take The Survey Today!

Catch The Buzz   April 2, 2016

It is April 1st and that can only mean one thing at the Bee Informed Partnership – our National Loss and Management survey is LIVE!  Starting now and continuing until April 30th, your responses from this survey provide invaluable information that helps us obtain a clear picture of honey bee health throughout the country and helps guide best management practices. Thank you for all the beekeepers who, for 10 years now, have taken the time to complete the Colony Loss survey. Additional appreciation goes to those beekeepers who have provided data for our Management survey for the past 5 years. Correlating management practices with colony losses have enabled us to soon release data based management plants for beekeepers in different regions of the country.

Without the aid of the many beekeepers who participate in this survey we would never be able to obtain the results that we have received in the past and hope to continue to receive in the future. Our monofactorial results are found at our website (www.beeinformed.org) and through the years interesting trends are evident. Varroa clearly is a major issue and continues to be a major driver of colony loss – high losses correlated from untreated colonies is a result that has remained consistent from every management survey we have conducted to date. To help us continue this effort, click the link below to take the National Colony Loss and Management Survey for the 2015-2016 season:

Take the Survey Now!

If you would like to take a look at the 2015 – 2016 survey questions before beginning, or to download the survey so that you can take some notes before taking the survey online, click on the link below:

2015 – 2016 National Colony Loss and Management Survey Preview

If the link doesn’t work, go to http://10.selectsurvey.net/beeinformed/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=BIP2016#

This copy of the survey is meant to serve as an aid to the questions that are being asked on the survey.  It is not meant to be mailed in as a hard copy submission.

Thank you all again and we invite you to take this survey. By doing so, you are helping forward the research started 10 years ago.

Best wishes for healthy colonies in 2016 from the Bee Informed Partnership team!

http://www.beeculture.com/catch-buzz-2015-2016-colony-loss-management-survey-live-take-survey-today/#.VwHYKcPs1Wc.facebook

2016 Almond Bloom Spray Issues Survey

CATCH THE BUZZ   March 23, 2016

If you pollinated almonds this year, take this survey: 2016 Almond Bloom Spray Issues Survey

Recent reports indicate that many beekeepers have noticed significant loss of brood in their colonies about two weeks after fungicides and/or fungicide/IGR combinations were applied to blooming almonds. In many cases the hive entrances have been clogged with dead young fuzzy bees and pupae that failed to hatch. All beekeepers who experience such losses are encouraged to file a report of loss with the agricultural commissioner’s office in the county where the loss took place. If no report is filed there is a rebuttable presumption that no loss occurred.

If you experienced such brood losses in your colonies, which pollinated almonds, please fill out and send in the following survey:

  1. Did you experience any abnormal loss of brood in your colonies that pollinated almonds in 2016?

  2. How many of your colonies experienced severe brood losses?

  3. Are you aware which pesticide products were applied in the area where your bees were pollinating almonds?

  4. Did you file a report of loss with the agricultural commissioner in the county or counties where your bees were exposed the pesticides?

  5. Please describe location of the colonies while in the almonds using Section, Township/Range, or Road names/numbers and County
  6. Have pollen or dead bee/brood samples been collected for chemical analysis?

  7. Have these losses been reported to any other bee industry brood loss survey in 2016? 

Please e-mail your completed survey to: gbrandi@sbcglobal.net

 

 

US National Beekeeper Survey (Closes April 1, 2016)

US National Beekeeper Survey (Closes April 1st, 2016)

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey! Through this brief questionnaire we are hoping to gain a better understanding of current beekeeper demographics. We aim to provide current statistics to the beekeeping industry, beekeepers, and also better focus our education, outreach, and networking efforts in the beekeeping community. Your information is completely anonymous. Data will be analyzed by the Bee Girl organization’s Executive Director, Sarah Red-Laird, and Scientific Adviser, Scott Debnam, and published on www.beegirl.org. This survey will close on April 1st, 2016.


While there are very succinct colony loss and honey production surveys each year, there hasn’t been a comprehensive “beekeeper” survey for years. With the popularity of beekeeping on the rise, no one can argue with the fact that the beekeeper demographic has changed in the last decade. As educators, researchers, and individuals making up an industry, we should know who we are. Moving forward, having a grasp on census data of the industry will help us to know where, who, and how to reach out for better policy making, research, issue advocacy, continuing education, etc. 

Continue to Survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1De-WAUHL6s3QVIPvntA0KgNCI8nJDFRZ9dXRD84tjuI/viewform?c=0&w=1


U.S. Agencies Need Better Data to Protect Bees; Watchdog Says

Science AAAS    By Puneet Kollipara   March 15, 2016

Federal agencies need to patch some scientific holes in their ongoing efforts to protect struggling bee populations, according to the nonpartisan watchdog agency of Congress. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lacks a plan for monitoring populations of certain non–honey bee species, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit argues. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to collect data on pesticide mixtures to more accurately assess the risks bees face from the chemicals, GAO says.

Although USDA and EPA have taken “numerous actions to protect the health of honey bees and other species of bees,” beekeepers “continue to report rates of colony losses that they say are not economically sustainable,” the GAO audit says. “Finding solutions to address the wide range of factors that may affect bee health …will be a complex undertaking that may take many years and require advances in science and changes in agricultural and land use practices.”

The 11 March report highlights potential vulnerabilities in how the federal government is acting on recommendations unveiled last May by a multiagency task force convened by President Barack Obama. That task force called “for action, but the GAO report calls for monitored, responsible action,” wrote entomologist Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in an email. “I’m happy to see this … report and hope it is heeded.”

For about a decade, beekeepers have reported losing an unusually high number of their colonies each winter. Although scientists are still trying to pin down what’s behind the trend, researchers and agencies say it could stem from a combination of factors, from habitat loss to pathogens to pesticide exposure. The problem carries major implications not just for ecosystems but also for humans—bees and other pollinators help produce one-third of people’s food, government figures suggest.

The White House task force identified a series of policies that agencies should undertake to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticides and pathogens, preserve bee habitats, and promote bee-friendly plants. The strategy sets a number of targets, including cutting overwintering bee colony losses to 15% (from roughly 30% in recent years) by 2025. And itidentified several areas of research that agencies should pursue, ranging from bee population and health monitoring, to environmental stressors, to bee conservation methods.

Moreover, the task force told agencies to make sure that wild and native bees weren’t left in the lurch. The task force had called on USDA to monitor populations of native and wild bees, not just managed honey bees. But the GAO audit found that USDA still lacks a plan to monitor non–honey bee populations.

In response, USDA Chief Scientist Catherine Woteki told GAO that it would be “physically and fiscally impossible” to track the roughly 4000 North American species of wild and native bees But she said it would be “informative” to monitor a smaller number of “sentinel species,” each of which could serve as a proxy for multiple bee species. She also said that citizen science could play a role in USDA’s bee monitoring efforts.

At EPA, the White House task force had suggested that the agency try developing ways to assess how mixtures of pesticides encountered in the real world affect bees, instead of solely assessing one compound at a time, as the agency does now. But the GAO audit suggests that EPA doesn’t yet have data on the most common pesticide mixtures and “does not know how it would identify them.” Data on the most common mixtures “are available and could be collected from farmers, pesticide manufacturers, and others,” GAO said, adding that the assessment of mixtures could help EPA “determine whether they pose greater risks than the sum of the risks posed by individual pesticides.”

GAO also suggested that EPA look into obtaining toxicity data from pesticide makers on how pesticides affect non–honey bee species.

Although EPA has in recent years updated its pesticide risk assessment methods to factor in a new suite of bee safety tests, the agency says it still doesn’t have the necessary standardized scientific procedures to quantitatively assess pesticides’ risks to non–honey bees or the effects of mixtures. Some new methods for measuring pesticides’ short-term toxicity to bumblebees and mason bees may soon be ready, EPA toxics chief James Jones told GAO.

Some mixtures may be useful to identify, he suggested. But many could be challenging to assess, he suggested, at least for now, as their formulations might vary from area to area. Another challenge is that the ingredients might affect bees through different mechanisms that no single test can fully account for.

The EPA said in a statement that it was still reviewing the GAO findings. USDA’s media office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

At least one environmental group swiftly reacted to the GAO audit. “For far too long, the EPA has turned a blind eye to the impacts of pesticide mixtures,” Lori Ann Burd, of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Portland, Oregon, office, said in a statement. “I hope this report will force the agency to finally take the commonsense measure of studying the effects of pesticides in real-world conditions.” 

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/us-agencies-need-better-data-protect-bees-watchdog-says

US National Beekeeper Survey

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey! Through this brief questionnaire we are hoping to gain a better understanding of current beekeeper demographics. We aim to provide current statistics to the beekeeping industry, beekeepers, and also better focus our education, outreach, and networking efforts in the beekeeping community. Your information is completely anonymous. Data will be analyzed by the Bee Girl organization’s Executive Director, Sarah Red-Laird, and Scientific Adviser, Scott Debnam, and published on www.beegirl.org. This survey will close on March 18th, 2016. 

TAKE SURVEY!

CSBA Releases the 2015 Pollination Survey

From the Project Apis m. website January 20, 2016

Annually, the California State Beekeepers conduct a survey of pollination rental fees for the various crops in California.  Click here to see the results of the 2015 survey.  Of special note are the boxes to the bottom right of the table that lists the projected almond pollination fees, and average of $168.86 predicted this season.

2015 CSBA Pollination Survey Results

USDA Begins Surveys to Assess Honey Bee Colony Health, Impact on Agriculture

New Data Collection Supports the White House National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators
 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2015The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is reaching out to beekeepers and farmers across the nation in December 2015 and January 2016 to gather information on the number and health of honey bee colonies, honey production and stocks, and the cost to farmers of pollination services.

The surveys will be used to develop baseline data and additional goal metrics for winter, summer, and total annual colony loss in support of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Among its goals, the Strategy aims to reduce honey bee colony losses during winter to no more than 15% within 10 years.  

“These new data will be crucial to measuring and understanding the current state of the pollinator industry in the United States,” said NASS Administrator Joseph Reilly. “Honey beekeepers are encouraged to participate in the surveys so that policy makers have a robust data source to make informed decisions and protect our struggling pollinators.”

Pollinators are critical to the nation’s economy, food security, and environmental health. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year, and helps ensure that our diets include ample fruits, nuts, and vegetables. This tremendously valuable service is provided to society by honey bees, native bees and other insect pollinators, birds, and bats. But pollinators are struggling. Last year, beekeepers reported losing about 40% of honey bee colonies, threatening the viability of their livelihoods and the essential pollination services their bees provide to agriculture.

Beekeepers should expect to receive two surveys from NASS. They will receive the existing Bee and Honey Inquiry, which surveys beekeepers about honey production, price, and stocks, but not colony health. NASS will continue to conduct that survey, the results of which are slated for release in March 2016, and which are archived at www.nass.usda.gov. Beekeepers will also receive a new survey from NASS, which the agency will use to publish state-level estimates on key topics, including number of colonies, colonies lost, colonies added, and colonies affected by certain stressors. The first results of these surveys will be published in May 2016.

In addition to surveys being sent to beekeepers, NASS will survey farmers about crops pollinated, number of colonies needed for pollination, and the cost for those colonies. NASS plans to publish results of those surveys in December 2016.

These surveys and corresponding data are part of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, prepared by the Pollinator Health Task Force, which USDA co-chairs. The Strategy is a comprehensive plan to work across the Federal government and with partners to address the research, education and management challenges we must overcome to sustain healthy pollinator populations. One of the three overarching goals of the National Strategy is to reduce honey bee colony loss and to develop additional baseline data using the NASS data.

As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by federal law. 

The NASS surveys are one part of a larger effort USDA is undertaking to promote the health of pollinators, including honeybees. Last week, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) authored a blog titled “High Five for Pollinators: Busy Bees, Bats and Butterflies,” outlining five projects that agency has undertaken in 2015 to improve pollinator forage and habitat.