Results of the colony loss monitoring survey in Scotland for winter 2012-2013

Gray, Alison and Peterson, Magnus (2014) Results of the colony loss monitoring survey in Scotland for winter 2012-2013. In: COLOSS Workshop: Estimation of Honey Bee Colony Losses - Continuity and Visibility, 2014-02-04 - 2014-02-05. (

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In Scotland we have carried out surveys of beekeepers since 2006. Since 2008 these surveys have used random sampling of the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association membership records. In 2013 for the first time our survey was mostly run online using the LimeSurvey software ( Previous surveys were wholly postal. A sample of 300 participants was selected from 1094 possible participants. Of these 300, 218 (73%) had email contact details. A posted questionnaire was used only for beekeepers who were selected but lacked email contact, or whose email failed and could not be corrected, or (in a few cases) those contacted by email who experienced technical problems in accessing the survey. This resulted in 94 questionnaires being posted and 3 sent electronically for postal return, the rest being online. The overall response rate was higher than in most of the previous surveys and data processing much faster, and for the 2014 survey we will use the same online approach. Based on 108 usable responses from beekeepers, 61 (56.5%) experienced colony losses over winter 2012/13, and the winter colony loss rate was 31.6%, estimated using the overall proportional loss rate [1]. This represents 158 colonies lost out of 500 colonies in total being managed at the start of winter in October 2012. This is an extremely high loss rate compared to the previous winter when 40% of 89 beekeepers reported losses and the overall loss rate was 15.9% (which was low relative to the previous two surveys), and is the highest loss rate found in any of our surveys so far. The next highest was 30.9% over winter 2009-10. Factors investigated for a relationship with loss rates include geographical area (East/West), forage sources, in particular access to oilseed rape, and nature of Varroa treatment. Results of the further analysis will be reported, including a presentation and explanation of model fitting using generalised linear mixed effects models. [1] van der Zee, R., Gray, A., Holzmann, C., Pisa, L., Brodschneider, R., Chlebo, R., Coffey, M.F., Kence, A., Kristiansen, P., Mutinelli, F., Nguyen, B.K., Adjlane, N., Peterson, M., Soroker, V., Topolska, G., Vejsnaes, F., Wilkins, S. (2013). Standard survey methods for estimating colony losses and explanatory risk factors in Apis mellifera. In V. Dietemann, J.D. Ellis, P. Neumann (Eds.), The COLOSS BEEBOOK, Volume I: Standard methods for Apis mellifera research, Journal of Apicultural Research 52(4).