Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

NZ Colony Loss Survey

Landcare Research works closely with the beekeeping industry to conduct the New Zealand Colony Loss Survey. This survey has now been completed in 2015 and 2016 and we are preparing for the 2017 survey.

The NZ Colony Loss Survey seeks to quantify colony losses over winter and will provide data for monitoring bee health over time and investigating emerging challenges for the apiculture industry and those industries that rely on pollination services.

The survey questionnaire is based on the international COLOSS survey and will enable us to make international comparisons. Questions relevant to NZ-specific conditions have also been added. The survey is designed to build an understanding of the state of bees in NZ as seen by those who are directly involved.

The survey asks beekeepers to tell us what they have observed when opening their hives in Spring. Of most importance are:-

  • How many hives have been lost?
  • What is the likely cause of the loss? The survey will ask about
    • Queen problems (including drone-laying queens, no queen etc.)
    • Colony death (including starvation and hives reduced to a few hundred bees)
    • American Foulbrood (AFB)
    • Varroa
    • Natural disasters (gale force winds, flooding etc.)
    • Theft or vandalism
    • Wasps
    • Argentine ants
    • Giant Willow Aphid

Survey Summaries

The first NZ Colony Loss Survey was carried out in 2015. We surveyed 366 beekeepers with over 225,660 hives, representing almost 40% of the total number of hives. Hives losses during winter 2015 were estimated at 10.7% although there were reports of significant losses in some cases. Survey results are below.

In 2016, 2,179 beekeepers responded to the survey and the information collected covered 275,356 hives. Survey results will be provided below as soon as they are available.