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Mar 15

Bee Informed Partnership offers Colony Monitoring Service

March 12, 2014

We are looking for beekeepers from across the country who manage 10 or more stationary colonies and would be ready to participate in this Real Time Disease Load Monitoring of Nosema and Varroa mite levels over the course of the next 6 months.

We are very happy to inform you that the Bee Informed Partnership is moving forward with another step in our long term goal to reduce honey bee colony losses by officially launching our Real Time Disease Load Monitoring (Tier 4). Please note, this monitoring is limited to the first 100 participants and priority will be given to bee groups and clubs.  If you are part of a local club or beekeeping group, please make them aware of this project and we’d be happy to have the group involved.

Participants in the program will receive the protocol (http://beeinformed.org/tier-4-protocol/) and sampling material needed to collect ½ cup of bees from 8 colonies each month of the active season. After sending the samples to our diagnostic lab at University of Maryland for processing, you will receive a report detailing the Varroa mite and Nosema spores loads in your 8 colonies. Our goal is to send your monthly report to you within 2 to 3 weeks of your shipment date. On top of those monthly reports, a final summary report will be compiled at the end of the season to allow you to compare your results to the rest of the participants. Please click on the link to see the final report from last year’s Pilot project (http://beeinformed.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/FinalReport-on-2014.01.27.pdf).  We believe that knowing the actual loads of disease in your colonies will help you evaluate the need or success of management practices and ultimately contribute to reducing honey bee colony losses.

The cost of this project is valued at $480 per participant for the 6 month period, BUT the Bee Informed Partnership is subsidizing the cost by 50% for this year. So the cost to you will be $240 for 6 months (April-September or May-October) and then $40 a month for each additional month should you want to extend your season’s sampling.  We also need you to be willing to pay for shipping the samples back to our lab, estimated at less than $12 per month.

T4 Real Time Disease Load Monitoring Participation cost     

$240 for 6 months
+ shipping costs
+ $40 for additional months

Your participation will consist of taking samples from the same 8 colonies every month during the active season and complete a monthly questionnaire so we can link management practices to disease and mortality levels. As we gather more longitudinal data, we will be able to compare your results to regional and seasonal levels in your area and across the US. The management survey will aid in the development of models that can help beekeepers make real time treatment decisions and to evaluate the effectiveness of current and emerging control methods. Your participation in this research is confidential. In any publication or presentation resulting from this research, no personally identifiable information will be disclosed.

To registered participants in the Real Time Disease Load Monitoring (Tier 4), we are also offering a Pollen Trap Collection Pilot Project. The information gathered from this program will provide a record over time of the variety and quantity of floral sources that your honey bees are collecting pollen from. Participants will receive an end of year report of the estimate floral diversity in their area which should be helpful to understand regional pollen flows and dearth.

Interested beekeepers who wish to participate in this pilot study will receive the protocol and collection materials (including a new pollen trap, for which we ask a reimbursement of $20) and should engage their pollen trap on one colony twice a month and send back the samples to the University of Maryland diagnostic lab along their monthly samples. Participation to this pilot project will be limited to 20 participants this year. Bee Informed Partnership is subsidizing the cost fully for this pilot year. We would need you to be willing to pay for shipping the samples back to our lab (together with the samples), estimated at less than $12 per month and reimburse the cost of the new pollen trap ($20).

If you are interested in participating in this longitudinal monitoring sampling, with or without the pollen trap collection project, please email askbeeinformed@gmail.com and include your name, mailing address and how many colonies you have. We will then contact you if you have been selected to participate.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ohiostatebeekeepers.org/2014/announcements/news/bee-informed-partnership-offers-colony-monitoring-service/

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