On behalf of The Bee Informed Partnership at the University of Maryland, we acknowledge and regret your current circumstances with regard to your high colony losses. We look forward to working with you to gain a better understanding of factors contributing to your current losses.
Please Note: While we hope that performing this diagnosis on your colonies will provide some insight into the reason your colonies are failing, the results will not be definitive, only suggestive. In some cases, we anticipate not being able to isolate a cause but rather to rule out causes.
As outlined in the detailed instructions enclosed, we will be asking you to sample bees (and pollen, if you want pesticide analysis,) from 8 healthy colonies and 8 weak or crashing colonies. Please fill out separate data sheets for healthy and weak colonies. The 8 healthy colonies sampled should not be recorded on the same data sheet as the 8 unhealthy colonies sampled. Live bees are sampled for viral analysis, while bees collected in salt water solution will be used to quantify potential Nosema and Varroa mite levels. Should you choose to collect pollen from your sampled colonies; the samples will be sent to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and analyzed for approximately 200 known pesticides. If you would like to have pesticide analysis done you will need to pay for this service costing an additional $704 (this includes two complete pesticide analyses – one from the group of healthy colonies and one from the group of weak colonies). The cost of the kit without pesticide analysis is $525. You should enclose a check payable to The Bee Informed Partnership, Inc. with the returned samples, for the appropriate amount depending on the selection you have chosen. This cost includes service cost, processing and shipping.
Again – in order to get the most accurate information as possible, please be sure to sample your colonies in the manner described in the enclosed protocols. Samples should be shipped using the shipping label included with the kits. Please note it is best to ship live bees between Monday and Wednesday so they do not arrive at the UMD laboratory on the weekend when there is no one available to receive them. Do not sample and ship live bees on Thursday. Please notify The Bee Informed Partnership at 301-405-3799 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org within 24 hours of shipment of either live or salt water solution samples.
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Project Director
University of Maryland, Bee Informed Partnership