Sentinel Apiary Program Monthly Memo: September Issue

Author (Kelly Kulhanek) presenting the Sentinel Apiary Program at Apimondia.

Hello Beekeepers, we’re back with the September Sentinel Apiary update one day late but hopefully not a dollar short! It’s been a very busy month full of monitoring and treating for mites, plus a trip to Montreal for the Apimondia world beekeeping conference. It was such a blast to see so many Sentinel beekeepers and BIP supporters north of the border and to present the program at the citizen science session.

Of course, while the beekeeper is away, the bees (and mites) will play. Here’s what happened with Sentinel Apiaries in August (September update to come shortly).


Last month, 61 beekeepers submitted 330 samples from 25 states. We were very happy to see that mite loads only increased slightly between July and August. In 2018, we saw a bigger jump over this time period, and you can see that the National Average typically has a substantial increase. This means Sentinel beekeepers are remaining vigilant after that big jump we saw in July. Keep up the good work, and we’ll see how things look in September.

Monthly average Varroa loads for this year’s Sentinel (red), compared to last year’s (blue) and the APHIS national average (gray).

More northern states have started to exceed the suggested treatment threshold of 3 mites/100 bees including Maryland, Maine, New York, Oregon, New Jersey and Wisconsin. Check out Varroa heat map to see if your state is above threshold and get out there and monitor.


As for this month’s Sentinel Superlatives, a big shout out to the following:

Congratulations to Minnesota for having the lowest average mite load in August with only 0.63 mites/100 bees.

The state with the biggest bees was Illinois for the second month running with 0.197 grams per bee. They must be eating their Wheaties over there!

The state with the most drones total was Michigan with 207 drones. Note: this will likely always be Michigan as they have the most Sentinel Apiaries in one state: 10.

The state with the most drones per sample was New York with 12 drones per sample. That’s a lot for this late in the season!


We also had a big jump in reported honey harvest last month, with a total of 5,197 lbs of honey harvested from Sentinel Apiaries. New Jersey reported the most honey harvested with a whopping 1,950 lbs. We’ll be back next month to see if anyone topped that in September! That’s all for this month’s update. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time.


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