COLOSS: Honey bee colony loss/survival survey 2017/2018

Letter from Mary F Coffey, Teagasc, Oakpark Research Centre, Carlow:

Although the weather as yet does not reflect the time of year, it is now time to complete our annual survey on winter colony losses. As described in my recent article on colony losses in the May edition of An Beachaire, this annual survey has allowed the creation of a reliable profile on the winter losses being experienced by beekeepers over the past 10 years. Such information is necessary for the development of bee health strategies now and in the future.

This year, anecdotal evidence from conversations with beekeepers is suggesting that winter losses are high; however, reliable data on the extent of these losses can only be collected if beekeepers complete this year’s annual survey. To ensure that the data is representative of Irish beekeeping it is essential to get a response rate between 15-20%. In previous years this was achieved, but last year, although the there was a good geographical spread in the respondents, the response rate had decreased to approximately 12% and in many counties less than 10 beekeepers returned completed surveys (see article in this month’s edition of An Beachaire). This low response rate per county means that the data collected can only be analysed to a National level rather to a county level which would be much more beneficial to beekeepers. Therefore as secretary of your local association I would be grateful if you could encourage your members to participate. I am attaching a printable version as pdf file and the online version using the following hyperlink: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/coloss2018.  The form is also available here.

The online version will also be available on the FIBKA and NIHBS webpages in the next day or so. However, the analysis of data from previous years indicates that participation can be maximised if the survey is distributed and completed at your local meeting on a specified evening. The pdf file attached can be printed/photocopied or printed versions can be forwarded to you on request. I appreciate this may not be possible in all cases, but perhaps you would consider it as an option in your association.

Please note that all completed surveys should be returned by 1 June 2018.

Printed versions should be returned to Mary F Coffey, Teagasc, Oakpark Research Centre, Carlow.

Hopefully with a joint effort this year we can maximise the response rate.