Controlling Varroa – 89% Of Large-Scale Beekeepers Said They Use Chemical Varroacides, While 61% Of Small-Scale Beekeepers Do

Catch the Buzz May 23, 2019

varroa mite on bee.jpg

With the Varroa destructor mite a pernicious pest of managed honey bee colonies across North America, beekeepers have a variety of control methods to choose from to reduce the mites’ impact on their hives. Which ones do they most prefer?

To answer that question, researchers at the University of Maryland and the Bee Informed Partnership analyzed four years of data from surveys that asked beekeepers about their Varroa-management methods. Their findings, reported in a new study published in April in the Journal of Economic Entomology, highlight a wide variety of combinations of methods used and indicate a lack of any perceived “silver bullet” option for controlling Varroa mites.

Among the range of practices, though, some patterns emerged, says Ariela Haber, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland at the time it was conducted. (Haber is now a postdoctoral researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service.) For instance, 89 percent of large-scale beekeepers (managing 50 or more colonies) said they use chemical varroacides, while 61 percent of small-scale beekeepers said they did. And, while about half of large-scale beekeepers said they use nonchemical methods (either exclusively or in combination with varroacides), about three-quarters of small-scale beekeepers said they use them.

Haber says these insights into use of Varroa-management methods “take into account important considerations such as affordability and logistical constraints associated with different practices. Thus, the findings can inform future experiments that directly test the efficacy of different Varroa management practices that beekeepers can realistically use.”

The survey data, which Haber analyzed with University of Maryland colleagues Nathalie Steinhauer and Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Ph.D., covered nearly 19,000 responses over a four-year period, asking beekeepers about their use Varroa-management methods among the bevy of options currently available:

bee informed survey results.jpg

Beekeepers were also asked about colony losses. Across all types of beekeeping operations, use of varroacides was associated with lower colony loss, with amitraz associated with better colony survival than all other varroacides. Meanwhile, among nonchemical methods, splitting colonies was associated with the lowest levels of colony loss, “although our results suggest that nonchemical practices have limited success as stand-alone controls,” the authors note in their report. The survey did not ask about intensity of Varroa infestations or other factors that can influence colony survival, so Haber and colleagues stress that the results are only observational and shouldn’t be interpreted to infer causal links between Varroa-management methods and colony survival rates.

The primacy of chemical management methods, however, indicates the ongoing challenge beekeepers face in managing Varroain their honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies. Repeated use of varroacides has led to Varroa populations evolving resistance to at least two previously effective products. “Even though evidence from our study and from other studies suggests that chemical treatments tend to be more effective than nonchemical practices for controlling Varroa, we should be cautious in interpreting the results of any varroacide efficacy study and in making recommendations to beekeepers, as it is unlikely that any chemical control will be effective in the long term,” Haber says.

More broadly, Haber says she sees the intensive operations of managed honey bee pollination services in agriculture as an environment with multiple factors contributing to honey bee colony losses, such as low-quality pollen diets in monoculture crops to high-density colonies. “This suggests that honey bee colonies in the U.S. will be vulnerable—to problems we have already seen as well as new, unforeseen problems—as long as we keep our current system in place,” she says.

Read more - Source: Journal of Economic Entomology

See: https://beeinformed.org/

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/

Bee Informed Partnership Survey

Following are two messages from the Bee Informed Partnership:

Dear Beekeeper:

We are midway through our National Annual Loss and Management survey and would appreciate help from you to appeal to more commercial beekeepers who are under-represented in our survey.   

Thank you for those of you who have already participated in our Tier 6 (Almond Pollination) survey. We have two additional surveys that are now open to all beekeepers and are asking for your help.  The link to these surveys is provided below.

The Bee informed Partnership, a joint project among numerous universities and laboratories, is asking you to please send the following email to all the beekeepers that you know.  Both surveys are open only from 1 April through 30 April 2014.  

Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at: askbeeinformed@gmail.com or call us at 443.296.2470.

You can learn more about the Bee Informed Partnership at beeinformed.org.  We really believe this effort will be able to change our industry by giving beekeepers the tools they need to make informed management decisions. But, for it to work it needs participation – lots of participation. SO please take the survey if you have colonies of your own and pass this letter below to your beekeeper contacts and encourage them to participate! We thank you in advance.
 

*****************************************
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 2014

National Loss and Management Survey:

http://10.selectsurvey.net/beeinformed/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=BIP2014

The loss survey should take less than 10 minutes and the management survey should take less than 30 minutes.

The purpose of the Bee Informed Partnership is to use beekeepers' real world experiences to help solve beekeepers' real world problems. We will use the data generated from these two surveys to help you decide which management practices are best for beekeepers like you, who live where you do and have operations similar to yours.  For this to work, we need as many participants as possible...so please take the time to fill out the survey and SEND THIS EMAIL TO ALL THE BEEKEEPERS YOU KNOW asking them to fill out these survey too.
 
Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at askbeeinformed@gmail.com or call us at 443.296.2470.

You can learn more about the Bee Informed Partnership at beeinformed.org
BE INVOLVED, BE INCLUDED, BEE INFORMED. 
 
Thank you,

The Bee Informed Partnership Team

Beekeepers: Have You Taken the Survey Yet!

We need your help!  The Bee Informed Partnership is conducting our annual National Honey Bee Loss and Management survey, now open through the end of April. Please take 30 minutes out of your busy day to complete the surveys. 

http://10.selectsurvey.net/beeinformed/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=BIP2014

The purpose of the Bee Informed Partnership is to use beekeepers' real world experiences to help solve beekeepers' real world problems. We will use the data generated from these two surveys to help you decide which management practices are best for beekeepers like you, who live where you do and have operations similar to yours.  For this to work, we need as many participants as possible...so please take the time to fill out the questionnaire and SEND THIS EMAIL TO ALL THE BEEKEEPERS YOU KNOW asking them to fill out these questionnaires too.
 
You can see what type of results we will generate by visiting the beeinformed.org website and browsing through our results section. Currently we are in the process of posting last year’s management results, so visit the site often to see these results as they are posted.

Depending on the number of participants, we will have the results from this year’s survey broken down by region and should have those results posted within months of the survey close date.  
 
Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at askbeeinformed@gmail.com or call us at 443.296.2470.

You can learn more about the Bee Informed Partnership at beeinformed.org.

BE INVOLVED, BE INCLUDED, BEE INFORMED. 
 
Thank you,
The Bee Informed Partnership Team

Take the Survey - Deadline extended to April 30, 2013

Due to an overwhelming request from northern and western beekeepers who have not had adequate good weather opportunities to inspect all their colonies, the Bee Informed Partnership is extending the National Online Winter Loss and Management Survey until April 30th.  It is hoped this allows many more beekeepers to participate and join the thousands who have already participated.  All beekeepers are encouraged to take the survey and Bee Culture and Bee Informed thanks those who have already taken the time to join the team! Take the survey!

Take the Survey: Deadline extended to April 30, 2013

Bee Informed Partnership

Due to an overwhelming request from northern and western beekeepers who have not had adequate good weather opportunities to inspect all their colonies, the Bee Informed Partnership is extending the National Online Winter Loss and Management Survey until April 30th.  It is hoped this allows many more beekeepers to participate and join the thousands who have already participated.  All beekeepers are encouraged to take the survey and Bee Culture and Bee Informed thanks those who have already taken the time to join the team!

Click the link and take the survey! 

http://10.selectsurvey.net/beeinformed/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=BIP2012

 

Take The Survey…Be Part Of The Solution This Year.

Fill ‘er Up, Please!      Eric Mussen,    Extension Apiculturist.    3/20/13

To glean information on better beekeeping management and techniques, do you tend to sidestep formal conference presentations in favor of informal meetings at a local coffee shop? That’s what national surveys indicate. Not to worry. We now have the country’s largest beekeeping coffee shop that can bring the experiences of thousands of beekeepers to you.

And it’s free. You don’t have to buy the coffee or wait for a refill or tip the waiters.

It’s the online “Bee Informed Partnership.” You can go to http://beeinformed.org/ and see up-to-date summaries of all the data that the nation’s beekeepers – more than 5,000 so far – have submitted to the site. Thus, you can access information on what worked and what didn’t from thousands of beekeepers in the national coffee shop, not just your handful of friends in the local area.

The Bee Informed Partnership is well into its third year.  There is just about enough data to begin to break down the survey responses into specific sub-segments such as: regions of the country, size of operation, participants in crop pollination, etc.  However, in order to make the findings valuable for commercial operators, more commercial beekeepers need to submit data.

Participation in the program is free and totally anonymous (covered by federal and state laws).  When you decide to participate, you will be presented with two electronic survey forms to complete.  One is on “winter” losses (but this covers the entire year) and the other is on management practices and how effective you found them to be.  The expectation is that the surveys will be submitted quarterly.  The good news is that each new survey form arrives pre-loaded with your last data.  You change only what is different from the last time and submit it.

The new survey season begins March 29 and remains open until April 15.  By then, participants will know a lot about their wintering success or lack thereof.  I strongly suggest that you take the time to become involved in this program.  Besides data summaries, there are graphics of the data (which I prefer to tables any day).  Additionally, some of us are allowed to comment when we think that the results could be a bit misleading, based on small sample sizes or specific biases in the respondent group.

The national coffee shop is open. Your fellow beekeepers await your presence and your experiences and views.  Please “bee” there at http://beeinformed.org/ .