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. The first NZ Colony Loss Survey was completed in 2015 and it was refined and repeated in 2016.  We are now preparing for the 2017 survey which will start in Spring 2017.

The survey aims to:

  • Provide feedback so that New Zealand beekeepers can compare their own experiences with national and international information
  • Explore new insights about potential causes of losses and ways to prevent them
  • Provide an evidence base with accurate facts and data to inform industry and government
  • Form a framework for building a long term picture of annual or seasonal trends in colony losses

Are you a beekeeper?

All beekeepers are invited to complete the on-line survey once they have carried out their Spring hive inspections.  The information requested includes

  • How many hives have been lost?
  • What is the likely cause of the loss?

The survey will ask specifically 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 and other pests
  • Supplements and feeding
  • Loss of sites and overcrowding

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.

Survey Results

In 2016, 2,179 beekeepers responded to the survey and the information collected covered 275,356 hives.

Data is reported by operation size class and by region (for operators with 250+ hives) and is completely anonymous.  Survey results are shared with beekeepers and the 2015 and 2016 survey data is available below

There has been significant investment in creating and delivering this survey, some of which will only be realised by tracking changes over time. Landcare Research is interested in building on this knowledge and conducting future NZ Colony Loss surveys