2022 Colony Loss Survey

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maungaturoto
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Huh @tristan ??
Are you saying the cause of colony loss may be too subjective for many and that the actual reason may be something different ?
not really.
i'm saying people have other reasons or motives for their answers.
for eg talk to manager of a big company and you get a completely different answer than what the field crew gives.
or like when i was asking about oxalic acid i had some beeks say "it works great, but all the hives are dead".

you need to treat it more as opinions and add some fudge factor to it. if you can understand the motives for the answers you can add some correction factor to it.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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Yep, I can understand that. But since the survey has been running for some years then I think any 'correction factor' will be consistent among the years. In other words, looking at the trends rather than the absolute percentages may be more appropriate if concerned your boss tells porkies
 
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maungaturoto
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Yep, I can understand that. But since the survey has been running for some years then I think any 'correction factor' will be consistent among the years. In other words, looking at the trends rather than the absolute percentages may be more appropriate if concerned your boss tells porkies
yes thats a good point.
however the situation changes and gives people other motives. for eg the big one at the moment is simply cost.

but if your extrapolating trends from the data, the trend might not actually exist because the data is incorrect or the cause of the trend is not actually related to the question at all.
if you add 'correction factor' to each year, which will be different for each year depending on the situation, then you will get a better picture of the trends.
i know thats its not scientific at all but when the data is opinions rather than facts you need to understand the wheels within wheels.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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Unfortunately Pike is not on the forum, as he was with the old one and perhaps he could comment otherwise.
But any suggestions on how to calculate that 'correction factor' ??
To me, if someone is going to take the time to assist the industry by recording their losses, reasons etc - why bother making your anonymous self/operation look better? To be that is a brainless waste of time.
The questions have been carefully worded (and have changed a little over time) - such that the effect of 'opinions' is balanced out IMO.
So a quick question - have you done this recent survey Tristan ?
 
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Katikati
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Hi, been a while.
The survey is a whole lot of data presented very nicely.
What is the point of this data? Can it help us in with our work? I couldn't see how it did, so I stopped filling it in.
So what, we loose 10% of our hives over autumn/winter. For all kinds of reasons. We need losses to expand into during spring.
The question, "How easily can you replace your losses?" or "will losses be replaced" be more relevant.
Why do we need to know about our losses?
 

Alastair

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I think the purpose is partly just for interest. But the more important purpose is to see if any trends are developing such as say, increasing losses, or whatever, that may indicate a problem requiring government intervention or funding.

So for example, let's say it was discovered that varroa are becoming a way more serious problem than in the past, the evidence from the survey could be used to lobby government for assistance.

I will agree with Tristan that (in my view anyway), some of the questions could be worded better, or at least a few more multiple choice answers provided. I filled the survey in this year and there were a couple of questions I was not able to answer accurately because no tick box was given that had the right answer for me.

The other thing is how to define losses and that is not clearly explained. There's a lot, if not most, commercial beekeepers who go to a yard in spring and find some deadouts. But no worries, come swarming time they split hives into them to prevent swarming, and end up with the same amount of hives they had previously. So far as they are concerned they had no losses. Or if they do decide to say they had losses they are not quite sure what they were, they just split into any available empty hives. So the answer would be a guess. Most commercial beekeepers would not even feel a 10% loss cos at swarming time they need somewhere to put the excess bees and a 10% loss will be made up without hardly thinking about it.
 
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Bay of Plenty
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Unfortunately Pike is not on the forum, as he was with the old one and perhaps he could comment otherwise.
But any suggestions on how to calculate that 'correction factor' ??
To me, if someone is going to take the time to assist the industry by recording their losses, reasons etc - why bother making your anonymous self/operation look better? To be that is a brainless waste of time.
The questions have been carefully worded (and have changed a little over time) - such that the effect of 'opinions' is balanced out IMO.
So a quick question - have you done this recent survey Tristan ?
It's a good snapshot in time; one year's results don't mean too much, but you get to see trends over the years.
Most people over the yrs will answer with their best intentions and opinions(right or wrong) about why they think X happened.
What is good is everyone is claiming an AFB outbreak is happening pace all over the place, but the graph shows that is not happening as much as people say.
 
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maungaturoto
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Unfortunately Pike is not on the forum, as he was with the old one and perhaps he could comment otherwise.
But any suggestions on how to calculate that 'correction factor' ??
To me, if someone is going to take the time to assist the industry by recording their losses, reasons etc - why bother making your anonymous self/operation look better? To be that is a brainless waste of time.
The questions have been carefully worded (and have changed a little over time) - such that the effect of 'opinions' is balanced out IMO.
So a quick question - have you done this recent survey Tristan ?
yes, i think i did this last one.

making themselves look good is only one small and unlikely reason, but people are known to do that unintentionally.
there is lots of others reasons and drivers. a lot are unintentional.

how to calculate any corrections is interesting. but first one thing needs to be considered. if we publicly show how/why to "correct" the data, will people change their answers in next years survey?
also how do you weigh the data without adding your own bias to it?
 
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maungaturoto
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some of the questions could be worded better, or at least a few more multiple choice answers provided. I filled the survey in this year and there were a couple of questions I was not able to answer accurately because no tick box was given that had the right answer for me.
i think there's a bit of that. just flicking through the results there is a few interesting results that look like people hedged their bets a bit. eg not sure what the question is so will put a middle of the road answer in.

The other thing is how to define losses and that is not clearly explained. There's a lot, if not most, commercial beekeepers who go to a yard in spring and find some deadouts. But no worries, come swarming time they split hives into them to prevent swarming, and end up with the same amount of hives they had previously. So far as they are concerned they had no losses.
good example.
thats really common, replacements are commonly made as they go. even the manager/owner may not be aware of how many looses they are actually having.
 
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I’m glad the latest NZ Colony Loss Results are raising a bit of discussion. Thanks very much to those of who complete the survey every year and to everyone for sharing your helpful ideas whether you complete the survey or not. And thanks for starting this thread, @tristan .

I haven’t posted to the forum for a long time, but I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts about some of the themes you raised. Sorry in advance for the long post.

The idea of a correction factor is an interesting one! People providing answers that don’t reflect their actual situations (whether intentionally or unintentionally) comes up a lot in discussion with colleagues who run the survey in other countries. However, I generally think this is a bigger problem when you have few respondents. For example, there are 24,000 beekeepers in Spain, yet their most recent survey data is based on 152 beekeepers with 19,500 hives. I can easily see how a. few people could shape the story that emerges. In NZ, we have one-third the number of beekeepers, but we had more than 3,500 beekeepers with more than 352,000 hives responding to the 2022 survey. With numbers like that, I think it’s harder to “skew” the data, intentionally or not.

I do hope the data is useful for government, industry, and beekeepers themselves. Here’s some takeaways I might have for different audiences. For government: The share of colonies lost attributed to varroa has increased by 288% since 2017.

Here’s one for industry: Loss rates have exceeded the level that many operators economically sustainable for a few years running.

And here’s one for beekeepers: It’s hard to know what’s happening nationally (or even regionally) if you mostly talk to beekeepers in your area whose operations look a lot like yours and who face the same challenges you do; the survey can’t tell you what’s happening in your apiary, but it can tell you whether what’s happening in your apiary is an anomaly or part of a broader trend, and that might help you figure out how to handle it. (Note: One of the things that I value about this forum is that it gives people a chance to talk with others not in their normal circle)

In terms of the questionnaire, I try to make it comprehensive, but I don’t want it to become overwhelming. The questionnaire does get updated and refined every year, so if I’m missing something important or if questions are worded ambiguously, please let me know! I generally test the survey with a dozen or so beekeepers before it goes out, and I’m happy to share the questionnaire with anyone who asks (it’s also in the back of the report on the MPI website).

Finally, I do think that dead colonies are a problem, even for commercial beekeepers. It’s true that commercials can make up deadouts by splitting, but they may miss out on pollination contracts (and possibly some of the honey yield) if they do. Plus, labour, fuel, queens, etc. aren’t free. We estimated that losses over winter 2021 cost commercial beekeepers $23 million (see the February Apiarist’s Advocate if you’re interested in this). For these reasons, it is not surprising to me that the large commercial operators often provide the most precise data we get in the survey (i.e. there are very few round numbers coming from them).

As @JohnF noted, I’m not active on the forum. But I’m happy to continue this conversation over email with anyone who is keen.
 
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Katikati
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We have all heard of big losses, are these reported? I suspect not,
Losses also means savings. Less feeding, treatment and work. Chance to recycle old frames. Add new queens.

A question such as " is it getting harder/easier to replace losses?"
 
8,900
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maungaturoto
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I’m glad the latest NZ Colony Loss Results are raising a bit of discussion. Thanks very much to those of who complete the survey every year and to everyone for sharing your helpful ideas whether you complete the survey or not. And thanks for starting this thread, @tristan .
no worries, discussion is always good.

For example, there are 24,000 beekeepers in Spain, yet their most recent survey data is based on 152 beekeepers with 19,500 hives.
thats not skewing the data, thats down right obliterating it. its the equivalent of going down to the local bee club and asking for a show of hands, then saying that how it is across the whole country. pretty much meaningless.

For these reasons, it is not surprising to me that the large commercial operators often provide the most precise data we get in the survey (i.e. there are very few round numbers coming from them).
i'm surprised to hear that.

hopefully if i wake up i will go through the data fully this weekend and put some things up for discussion.
 
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Hawkes Bay
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I am a fan of the survey and am always happy to participate. It is really important to understand how trends are going. The only problem I have with the survey is that it is for winter losses which up till a few years ago wasn't a problem but the truly horrendous losses over the last three or four years have been in autumn. These are 100% varoa related but very poorly understood. Some is obviously resistance but in other cases the varoa die like they should with treatment but the hives just keep on dying anyway.
Apart from being killed by wasps winter losses were very low around here in the pre-varoa days with just the odd failed Queen. Queens also don't last as long these days and fail far more frequently and throughout the year.
 
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maungaturoto
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right lets kick this off then.

CLSS-results-2022_10__ScaleWidthWzEwMjRd.png

collos6__ScaleWidthWzEwMjRd.png



the graph here is very unusual to me, it should never be such a straight line. beginners have a hard time seeing varroa related problems, so the graph should be a lot closer to 100% and should fall quite quickly to 0%. any 5 year + beek should be able to spot pms/dfw a mile away. its a case of you know or you don't.
so it should be closer to flat from 5 year to 60 year.
also the 95% confidence spread should be the other way around.

i suspect newer beeks are over confident in their answer and older beeks are hedging their bets and under reporting.

also there is survivor bias to take into account. especially 0-5 year. those who did not see varroa/dwv had all their hives die out and are no longer beekeepers hence not part of the survey. we know at least 50% of new beeks don't survive the first year or two.

unfortunately i can't remember what the original question was. i suspect the question is being interpreted a bit different.
 
8,900
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maungaturoto
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9_pie_colony_loss_colonies__ScaleWidthWzEwMjRd.png

what needs to be corrected here is the fique for wasps and unsure.
hives rarely die from wasps, typically wasps get blamed because they are robbing out a nearly dead hive. you can see that by the low numbers of wasp related deaths in commercials but higher in the hobby side.
so realistically we are looking at around 4% death by wasps. the rest is most likely varroa related so we can bump varroa fique up. the unsure deaths are also most likely varroa related.

so for 1-10 colonies varroa should be around 38%,
11-50 varroa 37%,
51-250 varroa 37%,
251-500 varroa 31%,
501-3000 varroa 44%
3001+ varroa 45%.

so what interesting here is the big outfits are reporting a lot larger varroa problems. the higher wasps reported of the 3001+ can indicate more of a staffing issue may be at play.

thumb650w-3__ScaleWidthWzEwMjRd.png

so if wasps are at 7% and unsure is 3%
0-10 varroa is 33%,
11-50 varroa 26%,
51-250 varroa 22%,
251-500 varroa 20%,
501-3000 varroa 24%,
3001+ varroa 26%

bit of a difference between 2022 and 2019.
 
3,590
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Hawkes Bay
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Round here hives can and are regularly killed by wasps. I had sites where it was not unusual to kill 20 to 30 nests within 100 m of the apiary (vespecs was a game changer) and all I have seen literally hundreds of hives killed by them in one particularly bad season. You can reduce deaths by using entrance reduces and tracking and killing nests as well as breeding for wasp resistance but it's still easy to get caught out with no visible wasps when shutting down the hives in autumn and dead hives in the spring especially in mountain areas where wasps are less common but seem to do more damage . Absolutely they pick on the weakest hives first but given enough of them and enough time they will kill almost everything 15/16 is the worst I have ever seen and the only survivor was headed by a crossbred Queen with a lot of the local survivor genes.
 
8,900
5,337
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
Round here hives can and are regularly killed by wasps. I had sites where it was not unusual to kill 20 to 30 nests within 100 m of the apiary (vespecs was a game changer) and all I have seen literally hundreds of hives killed by them in one particularly bad season. You can reduce deaths by using entrance reduces and tracking and killing nests as well as breeding for wasp resistance but it's still easy to get caught out with no visible wasps when shutting down the hives in autumn and dead hives in the spring especially in mountain areas where wasps are less common but seem to do more damage . Absolutely they pick on the weakest hives first but given enough of them and enough time they will kill almost everything 15/16 is the worst I have ever seen and the only survivor was headed by a crossbred Queen with a lot of the local survivor genes.
yes, thats why i only trimmed the values down to what is more consistent across the board instead of making them zero.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
right lets kick this off then.


collos6__ScaleWidthWzEwMjRd.png



the graph here is very unusual to me, it should never be such a straight line. beginners have a hard time seeing varroa related problems, so the graph should be a lot closer to 100% and should fall quite quickly to 0%. any 5 year + beek should be able to spot pms/dfw a mile away. its a case of you know or you don't.
so it should be closer to flat from 5 year to 60 year.
also the 95% confidence spread should be the other way around.

i suspect newer beeks are over confident in their answer and older beeks are hedging their bets and under reporting.

also there is survivor bias to take into account. especially 0-5 year. those who did not see varroa/dwv had all their hives die out and are no longer beekeepers hence not part of the survey. we know at least 50% of new beeks don't survive the first year or two.

unfortunately i can't remember what the original question was. i suspect the question is being interpreted a bit different.

The only thing that can be interpreted from a survey Tristan, is the data supplied. All else is speculation and theories (which may be warranted but don't detract from the survey results themselves).

The question is quite clear (copied below) and even illustrates the signs of both DWV and PMS

Q48 Did you see signs of deformed wing virus or parasitic mite syndrome in your production colonies during the 20212022 season?
Signs of deformed wing virus {shrunken and deformed wings or other developmental abnormalities}
o None
o Limited
o Extensive
o Unsure

Signs of parasitic mite syndrome {spotty brood patterns, increased levels of brood disease, and/or white larvae that are chewed or pecked down by workers}
o None
o Limited
o Extensive
o Unsure

A survivor bias? Umm . . doesnt that affect *any* survey? I mean, a survey of 90 year olds who exercise vs those that don't
Well of course it doesn't take into account those 88 year olds who died last year . . .
 


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