>Further, from a research point of view (and I am not a researcher), but I would think that the researchers would want to have control of the samples taken, from collection to analysis.
This is normally a valid concern, but is evidence without a complete and rigorously documented chain of authenticity completely useless? I don't think so. We're not talking about sending an innocent person to the electric chair here, they're investigating dead bees. I'd think that any evidence, even if heavily salted, could prove to be useful.
I evaluate evidence in my job all the time, and it comes from many sources. Some evidence is more credible than other evidence. You don't hang your hat on non-credible evidence, but sometimes seemingly useless evidence provides a clue for a new direction of investigation. You don't know- and you'll never know, if you don't look at everything you can get your hands on.
Earlier in this thread, leafcutter mentioned that the CCD group was not pursuing reports from amateur or otherwise inexperienced beekeepers that reported CCD or CCD-like losses, preferring to concentrate on beekeepers that were managing large apiaries. Of course, I don't know if that's true or not because it's hearsay