Sentinel Apiary Program

Be a part of the Citizen Science Movement and join our Sentinel Apiary Program!

The goal of the Sentinel Apiary Program is to become an early warning system to alert beekeepers of potential problems due to increases in Varroa/Nosema (or changes in hive weight with the addition of a hive scale). We hope you will join us on a citizen science journey to better colony health and cooperative colony management. With the help of beekeepers all over the country, we have completed another successful year of the Sentinel Apiary Program (read the 2020 Summary Report PDF).

New for 2021 Sentinel Apiary Program

  • New Sentinel Apiary Program mobile app (iOS + Android)
  • New online dashboard for viewing and downloading data
  • Online community for peer exchange among participants
  • Training videos
  • 12-colony kits for bee club apiaries and larger operations
  • Sentinel or Blue BIP tee shirt (while supplies last)

User dashboard »

Check out our live Sentinel Map »

Registration now closed, come back in January for the 2022 season!

What to Expect After Registering:

  • Prior to May: You will receive your sampling kit.
  • Early May: Join us for an instructional webinar on how to prepare for the season and use the new Sentinel app and dashboard. Additionally you will receive an email prompting you to create a password for the BIP app so you’ll be ready to record your inspection notes when sampling starts. Once you’ve set your password, you’ll receive a second email that will include protocols, sampling and inspection guides, and additional helpful info!
  • May to October: The 6-month sampling period begins! Each month, inspect your colony, enter your data into the app, ship your sample to the Maryland lab, and access your monthly report.
  • December or January: Receive the end of year report.
  • Spring of the following year (typically April): Tell us which colonies survived over the winter.


Sentinel Apiary Program is full steam ahead, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video below to see how we’re keeping up at home. Enjoy!



About Sentinel Apiaries:

  • A colony health monitoring program for:
    • 4 colonies ($325)
    • 8 colonies ($500)
    • 12 colonies ($750)
  • 6 months of Varroa and Nosema samples processed by our lab
  • Monthly hive health inspections conducted by you
  • Optional hive scale data collection

By empowering beekeepers with data on their colony health, beekeepers can make data-driven management decisions. In recent years, Sentinel participants had lower Varroa loads each month than the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey average.

Participation from beekeepers like you has helped us build one of the largest continuous colony level databases in the world!

Your Sentinel Data Contributes to Exciting Research!

  • Investigation of inter-apiary Varroa transmission
  • Correlation of internal physical symptoms to mortality using historical Sentinel samples
  • Collaboration with NASA-DEVELOP to investigate landscape effects on Sentinel colony health using NASA-Earth satellite imagery

Participants in the Sentinel Apiary Program are subject to BIP’s Data Policies.


Have a question about your kit, the app or the research portal? Submit a helpdesk ticket.

Sentinel Helpdesk »

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