Colony survival survey (2021/2022)

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The list of registered beekeepers with the club that was used as the target population for the survey totalled just over 200 members. Every effort was made to telephone each person. However, some had unlisted or incorrect numbers, and after a couple of attempts by phone, also failed to respond to being sent a message. This brought the total to around 146.

Of the 146, around 20% (31) had no hives. This seems very encouraging, since they held membership and were keen to
learn before plunging into actually keeping bees. We all know that there’s a steep learning curve to keeping bees, so these members are hopefully bulking up on their reading.

115 members were included in the survey, which was broken down into 4 groups:

  • 1-3 hives: 56 members with an overwintering success of 53%
  • 4-6 hives: 32 members with an overwintering success of 63%
  • 7-10 hives: 14 members with an overwintering success of 71%
  • More than 10 hives: 13 members with an overwintering success of 70%

Problems, if mentioned, included

  1. MITES
  2. Too small of a population going into winter
  3. Cold weather in January
  4. Wasps
  5. Starvation in March

Considering that the year unfolded with dramatic shifts in temperature, the first heat dome, record low temperatures recorded in the early part/spring of 2022 and a lot of rainy or overcast weather, it is reassuring that the results were so good. Also, meetings were conducted by Zoom rather than in-person because of COVID so perhaps there was more difficulty for new beekeepers to get information and help.

Thank you to all those who participated. Also, many thanks to Dawn Wilson who contacted Scientific Beekeeping and provided the useful charts for treatment options for mites (see below).

Randy Oliver: 2021 Varroa Management presented for the SCVBA March 2021 Beekeeper’s Meeting

For reference, see a similar report from for 2018/19.

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