The Bee Informed Partnership National Management Survey 2014 – 2015

The results for the 2014 – 2015 Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) National Management Survey are posted.  This survey was done in conjunction with the National Colony Loss Survey and represents the management practices of over 6,000 Beekeepers from across the country.  Together, the beekeepers who took part in the survey collectively managed nearly 400,000 colonies representing about 14.5% of the 2.74 million colonies in the United States.  We would like to give a big thanks to all of the beekeepers who participated in the survey – your participation is highly valued by the Bee Informed Partnership and other beekeepers who are able to review which management strategies work and those that do not.  As part of our analysis for the National Management Survey, we compared the losses of beekeepers who employed specific management practices against other practices that are available for beekeepers.  By conducting this analysis, we are able to obtain the proportion of colonies lost relative to other practices, highlighting which practices are most effective.

Please not, in explaining the results, we always caveat it with the caution that “Correlation does not equal causation.”  What this means, is that just because one management practice is resulting (correlating) in lower colony losses, it does not mean that using this management practice is the cause for lower losses.  One of the great examples of this idea would be the statement that “As ice cream consumption increases, shark attacks also increase.”  In this example, the explanation seem obvious.  Ice cream consumption is not causing shark attacks, it just happens that both of these statistics peak during summer months.  There are various confounding variables that are effecting changes in ice cream consumption and shark attacks.  As the weather gets warmer ice cream becomes more appealing and more people are likely to go swimming in the ocean.  Ice cream consumption is not causing shark attacks and vice versa.  When reading through the results for the National Management Survey it is important to keep in mind that there are many correlative relationships but not all are causative; however, in viewing the results, it allows us to make more data and hypothesis driven research.

To read through the results for the National Management Survey, please follow the link below to view the different beekeeping management practices and the colony losses associated with those practices.

2014 – 2015 National Management Survey Results

Written By: The Bee Informed Team

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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.

  • Angelica

    I am planning on setting up one beehive in my backyard in southern NY (one hour north of NYC). These statistics, unless I’m reading them wrong, report stronger colony loss among backyard keepers who do it for enjoyment, ideology, personal honey harvest or local garden pollination. Why is that? It also says that people who did not use varroa control products had more losses. Is there a connection?

    • Kris Fricke

      Typically it’s just because there’s a lot of first and second year beekeepers among the backyard beekeepers and there’s definitely a learning curve in beekeeping (look at the “losses by years beekeeping” .. year two is really high, and the only reason year one isn’t is probably because they haven’t been at it long enough to have losses). And also a lot of backyard beekeepers are a lot more casual about it, which results in sub-optimum bee care. So the statistic shouldn’t be interpreted as that backyard beekeeping is in of itself “harmful to bees.”

      • I would disagree. Whatever kills the unfit without causing extinction and allowing for recovery is a net good for the species.