One of the Bee Informed Partnership’s major focuses is to bring together several disciplines to study ways to keep honey bee colonies healthy. One way we try to help all beekeepers is by conducting annual surveys and sharing the results with the beekeeping community. Our flagship service, The Bee Informed National Management Survey, reflects this goal.
We release our National Survey annually to study beekeeping management practices using epidemiology. Epidemiology looks for patterns across groups of people who are infected with specific diseases and their common traits. We then compare this data with people who are free of disease to pinpoint the most influential factors in contracting the illness.
We poll thousands of beekeepers every year to find out as much as we can about their beekeeping management practices. We then compare the rates of loss among beekeepers who did or did not use a specific management practice. Now that we have several years of data, we are beginning to look for patterns across the best performing beekeepers in each region to start to understand what combinations of management practices work best at keeping colonies alive.
What’s just as interesting is looking at the patterns across beekeepers who aren’t doing well so we can better understand what we should stop doing. We hypothesize that over time, certain practices or products lose their potency and we need to adapt.
What you can expect from our reports
We’re committed and excited to be doing this work, but it takes time. Great epidemiological studies take several years to complete so that we can ascertain patterns over time and various groups of people. Most of what you’ll find through our results are high level observations that we think might be important pieces of the puzzle, but not the whole picture.
We encourage you to take an inside look as we continue gathering data and find the patterns so that you can do your own research and see what impacts your apiary. Head on over to our National Management and Winter Loss Reports sections to see what we’ve found so far.