Last year, 2019, marked our fifth (fifth?!) year of the Sentinel Apiary Program. It was another record breaking year: 2,221 samples were taken from 461 colonies in 85 apiaries! The program continues to grow each year, and we are so excited about the progress we have made, and for what we will continue to do in the future. Take a look at the map below. Don’t see an apiary in your state? Join us and be the first!
One exciting thing to look out for in 2020 is another partnership with the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF). ABF is sponsoring ABF members with $100 off a 4 or 8 colony Sentinel Apiary Kit. If you’re an ABF member and would like the promo code, please use our Contact Form using Sentinel as your reason for contacting, or stay tuned for an email from ABF. Sponsorships are limited and are going quickly, so don’t delay!
Let’s take a look at what happened in Sentinel Apiaries in 2019. In 2018, Sentinel Apiaries had lower Varroa loads than the National average each month. Unfortunately, we did not see that trend again this year. Sentinel Apiaries in 2019 exceeded National average Varroa loads in July and September, but we do see a decrease in mites in October. We hope this was a result of your sampling efforts enabling timely mite management for Sentinel participants!
On each monthly data sheet, we ask Sentinel participants whether they lost any colonies and if so, why. This pie chart summarizes the responses of beekeepers regarding their perceived causes of colony loss. You can see that Queen Failure was the most commonly reported cause of loss (30 reports), followed by Varroa (24 reports). Happily, no losses were reported as being due to pesticide exposure, Nosema, CCD, or natural disasters.
If you found this blog interesting, check out our full 2019 Sentinel End of Year Report here, including information about Nosema and Varroa control methods. Don’t forget to check out our interactive Varroa map here! To learn more about Sentinel Apiaries or to sign up, please visit beeinformed.org/sentinel.