Tier 4: Real Time Disease Load Monitoring

Varroa mite, ventral view. Photo by Michael Andree.

Nosema spores on a counting grid. Photo by Michael Andree.

Quarterly disease load monitoring:

Beekeepers participating in quarterly remote management and mortality monitoring (tier 3) will be given the option of entering parasite load survey data. Beekeepers will be encouraged to enter their data when collected, but those participating at this level will receive email reminders asking if they have quantified levels over the last 3 months.

By year 3, the respondents will receive instantaneous reports as to how their levels compare to historical, seasonal, and/or regional levels. This information should be of utility to beekeepers who want to make treatment decisions or who want to determine if their treatment plans are working.

Standardized sampling kits will be provided to interested and trained beekeepers. Data generated by this effort will be combined with other historical records to generate basic summaries of disease and parasite population trends, permitting beekeepers to compare current levels to historical seasonal levels as well as to current levels in their region.

This project has just completed a six month pilot phase. Here is the online protocol that 22 beekeepers from around the country followed. It was a successful pilot that allowed us to work out any unforeseen issues. We have gathered and summarized the data from the pilot into a 6 month final report which will give beekeepers a better picture of the overall results of this project and will allow beekeepers to compare there results to other participants in there region. This report is from the pilot phase and is an example of the individualized report that is only sent to participating beekeepers.

We are launching the full project beginning April 2014. One hundred beekeepers managing 10 or more hives throughout the country will be able to register for a 6 month period of 8 samples a month per apiary. The cost of the full project will be $480, but the Bee Informed Partnership is subsidizing the cost by 50% for this year. So the cost to you will be $240 for 6 months (April-September) and then $40 a month for each additional month should you want to extend your year’s sampling.

Pollen_TrapTier 4 participants will also have the option of joining our Pollen Trap Collection Pilot Project. This again will be free for this pilot year, but it will only be open to 20 of this year’s participants. This project will require you to activate your pollen trap and collect pollen from it twice a month. The only cost to you is for shipping it to our lab. Participants will receive an end of year report with the estimate of floral diversity in your area as it pertains to bee health. It will also help you understand pollen flows and dearths in your region.

Learn more about the Bee Informed Partnership