Loss & Management Survey


****** The 2023 Loss and Management Survey has now closed ******

Thank you to all who participated and shared about the survey!


Preview of the questions are available here:

for backyard beekeepers (<50 colonies)

for large scale beekeepers (>50 colonies)

Bee Informed Partnership’s mission is to improve honey bee health through data-driven research in collaboration with beekeepers. As one of our longest running programs, the primary objective of the annual Loss and Management Survey is to document the loss rates of managed honey bee colonies in the US over time. Additionally, the survey aims to record beekeepers’ management practices, as well as other factors that could affect colony health and survival, serving as a barometer of managed honey bee health in the US. The survey allows us to document shifts in trends of colony losses and beekeeping practices, making the survey more valuable with every passing year.

Every year in April, US beekeepers can take the survey by filling out an online questionnaire. This national annual survey is a great example of citizen science that relies on voluntary participation of beekeepers. We are grateful that beekeepers of all different types decide to fill out the survey – from small-scale hobbyists managing fewer than 50 colonies, to large-scale commercial beekeepers who keep thousands of colonies.


Preliminary results of national and state-specific colony loss estimates are released 2-3 months after the online survey closes on April 30th. Previous colony loss estimates are publicly available on our research portal.

Read the summary of our preliminary results here:

Find the list of our peer-reviewed publications based on the survey below.

This Figure (from our most recent publication) shows the colony loss rates (%) of managed Apis mellifera honey bee colonies in the United States for A) all operation types; B) backyard beekeepers (1-50 colonies); C) sideline beekeepers (51-500 colonies); and D) commercial beekeepers (>500 colonies). The points represent the estimated percentage of colonies lost for each year, and the shaded bands and error bars represent the 95% confidence intervals. Yellow, blue, and red represent summer (April 1 to October 1), winter (October 1 to April 1), and annual seasons (April 1 to April 1). Note that summer losses and winter losses don’t add up to annual losses, because they don’t share a common denominator. Also note that the loss rate is not a rate of population decline, but should be interpreted as a mortality rate for honey bee colonies.

Some History

The survey, originally focusing on estimating Winter Losses in the US, began via the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) in 2006 led by Dr Dennis vanEngelsdorp. The survey was pivotal in the development of the Bee Informed Partnership, as the survey became the foundation of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant which funded BIP. When the NIFA grant ended, BIP had become a non-profit organization, dedicated to fulfilling its mission to monitor and better our understanding of honey bee health. From 2011 to 2017, the University of Maryland Bee Lab, under the leadership of Dr Dennis vanEngelsdorp, coordinated the preparation, distribution, and analyses of the survey results. Since 2018, the Auburn University Bee Lab, supervised by Dr Geoff Williams, has directly collaborated in the survey analyses and communication.

Some key changes along the way: the survey moved from phone interviews and email surveys to an online survey in 2010. The Management section, as well as Summer and Annual losses were added to the survey in 2011. The Management section was restructured in 2021 so that each year would focus on a particular management topic in rotation, in order to shorten the survey. Also in 2021, a small-scale and large-scale version of the survey were created, allowing more flexible start dates to account for intense splitting seasons of commercial beekeepers.

UMD logo     auburn logo  


Thank you!

The survey grew over the years, with the help of many supporting organizations (Project Apis m., AIA, American Beekeeping Federation, Eastern Apiculture Society, Honey Bee Health Coalition, American Bee Journal, Bee Culture, multiple research institutions and many many bee clubs!) that help by spreading the word and encouraging participation. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this work without them, and without our participating beekeepers.

Peer reviewed scientific publications associated with the survey:

Bruckner, S., Wilson, M., Aurell, D., Rennich, K., vanEngelsdorp, D., Steinhauer, N. and Williams, G.R. (2023) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership for 2017–18, 2018–19, and 2019–20’, Journal of Apicultural Research, pp. 1–15. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2022.2158586.

Overturf, K.A., Steinhauer, N., Molinari, R., Wilson, M.E., Watt, A.C., Cross, R.M., vanEngelsdorp, D., Williams, G.R. and Rogers, S.R. (2022) ‘Winter weather predicts honey bee colony loss at the national scale’, Ecological Indicators, 145, p. 109709. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2022.109709.

Engebretson, J.M., Nelson, K.C., Steinhauer, N., Rennich, K., Spivak, M. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2022) ‘Perceptions of honey bee management information sources among backyard and sideliner beekeepers in the United States’, Journal of Rural Studies, 96, pp. 190–197. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.10.020.

Kulhanek, K., Steinhauer, N., Wilkes, J., Wilson, M., Spivak, M., Sagili, R.R., Tarpy, D.R., McDermott, E., Garavito, A., Rennich, K. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2021) ‘Survey-derived best management practices for backyard beekeepers improve colony health and reduce mortality’, PLOS ONE, 16(1), p. e0245490. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245490.

Steinhauer, N., vanEngelsdorp, D. and Saegerman, C. (2021) ‘Prioritizing changes in management practices associated with reduced winter honey bee colony losses for US beekeepers’, Science of The Total Environment, 753, p. 141629. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141629.

Haber, A.I., Steinhauer, N.A. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2019) ‘Use of Chemical and Nonchemical Methods for the Control of Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) and Associated Winter Colony Losses in U.S. Beekeeping Operations’, Journal of Economic Entomology, 112(4), pp. 1509–1525. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toz088.

Thoms, C.A., Nelson, K.C., Kubas, A., Steinhauer, N., Wilson, M.E. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2019) ‘Beekeeper stewardship, colony loss, and Varroa destructor management’, Ambio, 48(10), pp. 1209–1218. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-018-1130-z.

Kulhanek, K., Steinhauer, N., Rennich, K., Caron, D.M., Sagili, R.R., Pettis, J.S., Ellis, J.D., Wilson, M.E., Wilkes, J.T., Tarpy, D.R., Rose, R., Lee, K., Rangel, J. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2017) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee 2015–2016 annual colony losses in the USA’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 56(4), pp. 328–340. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2017.1344496.

Seitz, N., Traynor, K.S., Steinhauer, N., Rennich, K., Wilson, M.E., Ellis, J.D., Rose, R., Tarpy, D.R., Sagili, R.R., Caron, D.M., Delaplane, K.S., Rangel, J., Lee, K., Baylis, K., Wilkes, J.T., Skinner, J.A., Pettis, J.S. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2015) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee 2014–2015 annual colony losses in the USA’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 54(4), pp. 292–304. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2016.1153294.

Lee, K.V., Steinhauer, N., Rennich, K., Wilson, M.E., Tarpy, D.R., Caron, D.M., Rose, R., Delaplane, K.S., Baylis, K., Lengerich, E.J., Pettis, J., Skinner, J.A., Wilkes, J.T., Sagili, R., vanEngelsdorp, D. and Partnership, for the B.I. (2015) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee 2013–2014 annual colony losses in the USA’, Apidologie, pp. 1–14. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-015-0356-z.

Steinhauer, N.A., Rennich, K., Wilson, M.E., Caron, D.M., Lengerich, E.J., Pettis, J.S., Rose, R., Skinner, J.A., Tarpy, D.R., Wilkes, J.T. and vanEngelsdorp, D. (2014) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee 2012-2013 annual colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 53(1), pp. 1–18. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.

Spleen, A.M., Lengerich, E.J., Rennich, K., Caron, D., Rose, R., Pettis, J.S., Henson, M., Wilkes, J.T., Wilson, M.E., Stitzinger, J., Lee, K., Andree, M., Snyder, R., vanEngelsdorp, D., and for the Bee Informed Partnership (2013) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee 2011–12 winter colony losses in the United States: results from the Bee Informed Partnership’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 52(2), pp. 44–53. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.

vanEngelsdorp, D., Caron, D., Hayes, J., Underwood, R., Henson, M., Rennich, K., Spleen, A., Andree, M., Snyder, R., Lee, K., Roccasecca, K., Wilson, M.E., Wilkes, J., Lengerich, E. and Pettis, J. (2012) ‘A national survey of managed honey bee 2010-11 winter colony losses in the USA: results from the Bee Informed Partnership’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 51(1), pp. 115–124. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.

vanEngelsdorp, D., Hayes, J., Underwood, R.M., Caron, D. and Pettis, J. (2011) ‘A survey of managed honey bee colony losses in the USA, fall 2009 to winter 2010’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 50(1), pp. 1–10. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.

vanEngelsdorp, D., Hayes, J., Underwood, R.M. and Pettis, J.S. (2010) ‘A survey of honey bee colony losses in the United States, fall 2008 to spring 2009’, Journal of Apicultural Research, 49(1), pp. 7–14. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.

vanEngelsdorp, D., Hayes, J., Underwood, R.M. and Pettis, J. (2008) ‘A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008’, PLoS ONE, 3(12). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004071.

vanEngelsdorp, D., Underwood, R., Caron, D. and Hayes, J. (2007) ‘An estimate of managed colony losses in the winter of 2006-2007: A report commissioned by the apiary inspectors of America’, American Bee Journal, 147(7), pp. 599–603. Available at: https://bee-health.extension.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/AnEstimateofManagedColonyLossesintheWinterof2006-2007.pdf


Be Involved. Be Included.Bee Informed.

Donate Now ! →