Letter from COLOSS
In the last decade, elevated losses of western honey bee colonies have been observed, mainly in Europe and North America, but the underlying causes still remain unclear. In 2008, European and USA honey bee experts formed a network "COLOSS" realising that efforts by individual countries to identify the drivers of losses were unlikely to succeed, given the current consensus that causes are complex and can be different between regions and between the years. Now more than 1000 scientists are working together in this network in specific working groups.
The epidemiological working group have developed a standardised questionnaire to identify the underlying causal factors of losses and provide beekeepers sustainable management strategies.
We now invite you to fill in the questionnaire for 2018 which you will find below. This will enable us to compare your answers with other beekeepers. With your data we can estimate the relative risk of colony losses for beekeeper decisions such as Varroa treatment, migration of colonies and comb replacement. We also aim to identify differences in relative mortality risk between regions. This will enable follow up research projects in specific regions.
At your option your personal details may be recorded however we undertake not to disclose them to any third party to protect your privacy.
Finally your help is much appreciated. Please can I ask you to promote this survey and the questionnaire link through this open letter to as many English bee keepers as you are able to do so. Feel free to share the link by email, word of mouth, newsletters or social media and to your local bee keeping organisations. In doing so you will be making a contribution to tackling the problem of colony losses and ensuring that English data is represented as an equal partner in the COLOSS European community.
The survey link : http://www.bee-survey.com/
Dr Anthony Williams
COLOSS Survey Coordinator for England
De Montfort University
A Member of Leicester and Rutland Beekeepers Association and Rugby Beekeepers Association
Tel: 0116 207 8468
Instructions for completing the survey -- You may wish to print out a copy of these instructions for reference --
1. Please read the questions carefully and answer as many as possible. Your cooperation is much appreciated.
2. Only complete the electronic “Official COLOSS” questionnaire once.
3. There are separate paper questionnaires from the National Bee Unit (NBU) in circulation and also pending a Winter loss survey from the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA). Though there is some overlap between the three surveys please treats each survey separately. Each organisation’s questionnaire has been designed to meet different organisational purposes. At present efforts between the three organisations are uncoordinated it is hoped that in the future we will be able to coordinate our efforts.
4. Please note that questions marked with * have to be completed.
5. Excluding the informed consent question, final comments box there are 31 questions.
6. The survey asks questions about your bee keeping practice over the last 12 months, in particular the number of colonies you have in production and have lost over the winter period. You may wish to consult your records before starting the survey.
7. The questionnaire should be done in one sitting and should take about 15 minutes to complete.
8. However if you wish to complete the survey in more than one sitting to check your answers for example, you can do so by providing a User ID and password. You will be emailed a link to complete the survey. Click on the greyed out words "Resume later" on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
9. This questionnaire will be close on 5th June 2018.
10.The second page of the survey is an informed consent form, please select the checkboxes/statements that apply to you, finally on this page place your initials in the “Other” box at the bottom of the page to indicate your consent.
11.Finally on completing the survey you will have the option of printing out your survey responses for your records.
12.The survey is electronic form and there is no provision for a paper copy, however if you do not have online access or you are below the age of 18 you may find someone to complete the survey on your behalf.
13.If you have any questions about the survey then please contact Anthony Williams at the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
COLOSS is a pan European network of researchers, beekeepers and government representatives that provides resources and opportunities to disseminate latest bee keeping research.
The mission of COLOSS is to improve the well-being of bees (in particular the western honey bee Apis mellifera) at a global level.
Our goals include:
• Advocating for bees, and their well-being, especially to government legislators and administrators
• Coordinating international research, including the development of standard research methods
• Disseminating knowledge and training related to improving the well-being of bees
• Promoting youth development and gender balance among those studying, or those actively involved in promoting, the well-being of bees
The survey team is made up of in excess of 30 countries, most of the European regions are involved in COLOSS monitoring. Each national co-ordinator runs a similar survey in their own country, using a standardised questionnaire. The national co-ordinators are a mix of university researchers and academics (in biology, zoology, veterinary science, statistics, computer science) and professional beekeeping advisers, all with an interest in honey bee well-being. Many are themselves beekeepers. More information about COLOSS can be found at www.coloss.org
Address: Institute of Bee Health University of Bern Schwarzenburgstrasse 161 3003 Bern Switzerland
Anthony Williams works at De Montfort University in the school of Computer Science and Informatics. He has been keeping honey bees for 8 years and is a member of two regional associations. He quietly looks after a small apiary in his spare time. Anthony got involved in COLOSS at the beginning of the year and volunteered his services when he discovered that English hive survival data was no longer being collected and disseminated at a European level.