This post comes in from Rob Snyder.
This is a gigapan of Pat Stayer’s Queen Production operation. In the image they are breaking up large colonies into smaller nucleus colonies. These nucleus colonies will have a queen cell placed inside each hive. The nucleus colonies are then located in apiaries called “Mating Yards.” This yard is where queens will successfully mate, die or be superseded. After approximately 10 days in warm sunny weather, beekeepers will check the nucleus colony to observe the status of the queen.
See snapshots and more detail about making up these sample kits at gigapan.org
We were here to sample 8 of Pat’s colonies for the National Honey Bee Survey. The National Honey Bee Survey is conducted by USDA/ARS and is sponsored by APHIS in collaboration with ARS. The survey attempts to document the presence or absence of pests, parasites and disease currently found in the United States. The survey is geared towards establishing the absence of Apis cerana, Slow Paralysis Virus (SPV) and the parasitic mite Tropilaelaps in our country’s honey bee population.
Beekeepers participating in the survey will receive a summary report within 3 months from ARS on the average apiary level of Nosema, tracheal mite, and Varroa levels in the sampled apiaries. In 4 to 6 months a separate molecular report will include bee viruses and Nosema species present in the apiary sampled.