Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Survey of New Zealand Bee Colony Loss and Survival

New Zealand Colony & Loss Survey logo

New Zealand Colony & Loss Survey logo

In spring 2016, Landcare Research and the beekeeping industry will conduct New Zealand’s second Colony Loss and Survival (or Bee Health) survey.

The survey seeks to quantify colony losses over winter 2016 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, and 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 is anonymous and conducted on-line and generally takes around 1520 minutes to complete – depending upon the size of the beekeeping operation.  Beekeepers have been e-mailed (22nd August) with a link to the on-line survey.  If you have not received an e-mail from us and want to be included in the survey, please contact Christine Harper harperc@landcareresearch.co.nz  and the link will be e-mailed to you.

The survey will ask beekeepers to tell us what they have observed when opening their hives this 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

The survey will also ask about colony numbers, hive purchases and migrations, apiary site issues, pollination services, queens, varroa treatments and supplements.

2015 survey

The first NZ COLOSS 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. 

Landcare Research will share the results of the 2016 survey in the same way in March 2017.