BIP National Loss Survey Comparison with NASS results

The National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) recently reported the results of its second honey bee colony loss survey. The Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) also recently published preliminary loss results covering the same period. Despite the differences in methodology and sample sizes, these two surveys yielded comparable results. Specifically, we estimate 33.23% losses based on the BIP survey, and we estimate 35.39% losses when we use BIP methods to calculate losses from the NASS survey (Table 1). This is reassuring as it suggests past BIP surveys are representative of national losses despite the non-random nature of the BIP respondent pool. Both of these surveys were created…

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Adding Your Hive Scale to the BIP Public Map

Congratulations!  You’ve purchased a shiny new hive scale from one of Bee Informed Partnerships “BIP Ready” hive scale vendors, and opted to share your scale data with BIP for the good of beekind and your fellow beekeepers on the BIP public map.   Our users often ask how they can get their scale on the map, so consider this the definitive guide in getting your scale on the BIP map! It is possible that we are being a little presumptive here.  Perhaps you’ve got a BIP Ready scale setup in your apiary, and you’re scratching your head wondering why you would want your scale data on…

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Lucky-hit Nectar in Creeping Charlie

In the twin cities, spring brings complaints- about creeping charlie taking over lawns, strangling garden plants, and being generally relentless. But is the creeping charlie flower a good source of food for bees? In researching creeping charlie, we uncovered a fascinating story about this invasive plant’s strategy to draw insect pollinators. Creeping charlie draws a lot of insect visitors, including bees. Sweat bees, bumble bees, and honey bees are among its most popular insect visitors. Creeping charlie flowers have an interesting strategy for rewarding pollinators. This strategy is called “lucky hit.” They produce nectar with an average volume of 0.3 mL per flower, but the…

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Himalayan Blackberry: Beauty or Beast?

  As a new member of the Pacific Northwest Tech Team, I have been fascinated by the wide variety of cultivated, native, and invasive bee-friendly plants in the region. Coming from the arid Sacramanto Valley of Northern California, the lush greenery and cool mountains have been a welcome change as well. One thing I have been amazed by is the quantity of Himalayan blackberry. I thought the central valley had a lot, but in the Pacific Northwest it seems to invade every patch of available ground. This blackberry species is a ubiquitous sight along roadsides, waterways, and disturbed ecosystems such as recently logged forests and…

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Tart Cherry Pollination

The summer of 2017 is an exciting time for the Bee Informed Partnership as industry support and beekeeper interest has facilitated the expansion of a new BIP Tech Transfer Team based in Michigan. This expansion into a new territory means learning about the specifics of the local landscape, agricultural systems and beekeeping calendar in order to better serve the local beekeeping operations. Most Michigan-based beekeeping operations spend the winter in Florida or other warmer states and return to Michigan in the spring for fruit pollination and honey production through the summer and autumn. Tart cherries are one of the most prevalent pollination crops   in Michigan…

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Meet Garett Slater! New Midwest Tech Team Member

        I am the newest member of the Midwest Tech-Transfer Team! I, along with my trusty comrade Phoebe Koenig, work primarily with Minnesota and North Dakota migratory beekeepers. We sample colonies for Nosema and Varroa, while performing whole colony inspections negative health symptoms, i.e. diseases, pathogens, pesticides. I am new to BIP, and in the process of meeting many ND/MN beekeepers, learning diagnostic techniques, and figuring out it is extremely easy to get lost finding bee yards (Damn you GPS!). I thoroughly enjoy this position because I get to work directly with commercial beekeepers. I am driven to provide beekeepers with data…

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Preliminary: 2016-2017 State Total and Average Losses

The Bee Informed Partnership has released preliminary state losses for 2016-2017. If there are fewer than 5 respondents in a state, we will not release those numbers to preserve confidentiality. These tables represent Annual loss, Winter Loss and Summer Loss. We also report Total Loss and Average Loss. For further details regarding the difference between Total and Average loss, please read on. The Bee Informed Partnership traditionally reports total loss, or a weighted loss rate. Total loss treats each colony the same or more simply stated, “One colony one vote.” This means that the total loss rate is more representative of commercial beekeeper loss as they manage…

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2016-2017 Loss Results: Thank you to all Survey Participants!

Thanks to over 4,900 beekeepers this year, we have been able to track and record the loss and management practices of beekeepers for the 2016-2017 season, our 11th consecutive year. Thank you to all who have participated! For preliminary loss survey results, please see below. Honey Bee Colony Losses 2016-2017: Preliminary Results   Note: This is a preliminary analysis. Sample sizes and estimates are likely to change. A more detailed final report is being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date. Nathalie Steinhauer1, Karen Rennich1, Dewey M. Caron2, James D. Ellis3, Phoebe Koenig4, Kelly Kulhanek1, John Klepps3, Katie Lee4, Meghan Milbrath5,…

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One Week Left to take the 2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey

ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT to take the 2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey! Take the Survey Today! April 30th (this Sunday) is your last chance to participate in the 2016 - 2017 National Colony Loss and National Management Survey. Taxes are finished so there is no excuse! Please pull up a chair, pour your favorite beverage and join us in sharing your data, your management strategy, your losses and accomplishments. There is NO TIME to wait. We need your help and YOU can make a difference. The results that are received from this survey provide valuable information that help us obtain a clear picture of honey bee health…

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2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey is Live: Take the Survey Today!

2016-2017 Colony Loss and Management Survey is Live! Take the Survey Today! April 1st is just around the corner and for beekeepers, that means spring and the opening of the 2016 - 2017 National Colony Loss and National Management Survey. The results that are received from this survey provide valuable information that help us obtain a clear picture of honey bee health throughout the country. The Loss survey began in 2006 and we added the National Management survey in 2010 and from both of those, we have been able to gain actionable information on which management practices work and which ones do not. By correlating…

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