COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) is an international, non-profit association headquartered in Bern, Switzerland that is focussed on improving the well-being of bees at a global level.
We are composed of scientific professionals that include researchers, veterinarians, agriculture extension specialists and students. We understand that cooperation and open dialogue are key to better understanding the reasons why bee populations are threatened in today’s world. (Bold highlighting is mine. – Ed)
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. This information was extracted from the COLOSS website.
A request from COLOSS for help in identifying the cause of honey bee losses
The epidemiological working group have developed a standardised questionnaire to identify the underlying causal factors of losses and provide beekeepers with sustainable management strategies.We now invite you to fill in the questionnaire for 2021 which you will find below.
This will enable us to compare your answers with those of 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 beekeepers 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 beekeeping 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.
Norman Carreck, Member of Coloss for England