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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,033

    Default Bee Informed National Survey

    Please go to http://beeinformed.org/participate/ and take the survey. It can be pretty involved depending on your specific case, but do what you can.

    I just took the survey and am looking at some of the results from last year. Colony losses between different management styles (no non-bee derived products, natural only, prefer natural, use anything, other) were not statistically significant. In fact, the the range was between 31-36% with the first option rating at about 33%.

    The difference between migratory and non-migratory was 30%, 34% respectively.

    http://beeinformed.org/results/

    We see a lot of numbers in a lot of different directions, but the averages are not statistically different. I mentioned previously the differences between treating and non treating for varroa specifically were less than ten percent, I'm looking at the graph now and losses with no varroa treatment were 37% and treated were 29%, so only 8% difference. It's clear from the numbers that the ones who treated are more often commercial beekeepers, averaging 150 colonies, and the ones who didn't treat were less so, averaging 20 colonies.

    According to the stats, powdered sugar was NOT helpful, actually increasing losses compared to whatever else was done.

    Coumaphos only ~2.5% better than doing nothing.

    Formic Acid, 6% better than nothing.

    Fluvalinate, 2% better than nothing.

    Miscellaneous herbal products, 3% better than nothing.

    Small Cell, 1% worse than nothing on average, but varying widely. Using small cell in all colonies 2% better than in no colonies, but still widely varying. Shows a small bad correlation for going half way as it were.

    SSB 2% better than nothing.

    Here's an interesting one, drone removal, using it 1% worse than not using it. Dodged a bullet there.

    Terramycin and Tylosin, 2% better than nothing.

    Fumagillin and Nosevet, wash.


    Again, I'm not seeing anything all the useful in treating to begin with. Most of these numbers say that the treatment does not do anything statistically significant. The best looking product is Formic Acid, but it is only correlated with increased survival by 6%. It's hard for me to see that a 6% increase justifies the cost and time it takes to treat. One thing treating does do is make for more consistent results.

    On the other hand, many of us have experienced the 'going cold turkey' paradigm, both personally and vicariously. It must be noted that there is a big difference between going cold turkey and being cold turkey. So it may be that these numbers are more due to avoided losses from the switching process than differences in management. It's kind of like a tax on not changing.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Take the survey, get your information in there for this year's results. This information is helpful for all beekeepers.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Another note, winter losses are those that occur between October 1 and April 1.

    Also sugar seems to be grouped among treatments.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    772

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Sol,

    I haven't looked at the results. But, I'm struggling to understand what you have reported. Treatment improves survival by 8%. But, the most effective treatment only improves survival by 6%? Is the 8% due to more than one type of treatment?

    I'm kind of leery of gleaning specifics from these types of surveys. They can give an overall view of things. But, do you think the data is good enough to make generalizations? I don't. There is no control over who enters data. I find very few beekeepers know what is really going on in their hives and make assumptions without having any data to back it up.

    Tom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    Is the 8% due to more than one type of treatment?
    If I were to venture a guess, that would be it.


    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    But, do you think the data is good enough to make generalizations?
    Yes. That's what data is for. With a sample size of thousands, it is a good representative (though not exhaustive) result.


    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    I find very few beekeepers know what is really going on in their hives and make assumptions without having any data to back it up.
    If you had looked at the data, you would have seen that such an action was not required. That's the beauty of science (though this is not a scientific study by any stretch.) You can enter in the inputs and the results and lots of times you can back out intermediate steps which show you something you would not have guessed. In this case, the data shows how effective (or ineffective) individual treatments actually are as well as other variables.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    772

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    That's the beauty of science (though this is not a scientific study by any stretch.) You can enter in the inputs and the results and lots of times you can back out intermediate steps which show you something you would not have guessed. In this case, the data shows how effective (or ineffective) individual treatments actually are as well as other variables.
    Well, the beauty of science is that is follows well established protocols. You may then generate repeatable results that can drive your decision making.

    When I was in graduate school I often heard the comment "garbage in, garbage out." You can't take a non-scientific study and make scientific interpolations from it, that just isn't science.

    Tom

  6. #6
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Well, so, then, have you taken the survey yet?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,367

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    I hope my whopping 5 hives did not skew the numbers.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Bump.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Did I miss it? Selecting for resistant strains.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    You mean as an option in the survey? I don't think that was an option, and I believe the survey is closed, but it will open again next spring.

    It appears that since I posted the numbers above, some new data came in. So it seems that the best treatment increased survival by 10%. Still doesn't seem worth it to be considering my losses were 9% last winter.

    I bumped the thread because I kept wanting to point to it but could never find it when I needed it. I'll try to post the link when the survey comes around next year as well.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Very very interesting that there was no significant difference between southern beekeepers who prepared hives for winter versus those who didn't.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    If treated hives had 29 losses per hundred and non treated had 37 then the losses were at least 25% greater on the non treated. You also indicate that later data increases this difference.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    The denominator is not the number of losses, but the total number of hives, in this case 100.

    To make this real for me, using some numbers from the survey, if I were to treat, I would lose 25*.27 = 6 hives. If I didn't treat, I would lose .37*25 = 9 hives. Going from 6 to 9 is a 50% increase in losses, but it's only a 12% decrease in survival. Comparing losses in percent is misleading. You have to compare both to the total number of hives.

    If you lose 1 hive one year, and then 2 hives the next year, you have a 100% increase in losses, but if you have 100 hives, you've lost only 2% which by any reasonable measure is more than acceptable.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    642

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    I understand how it works, no problem. Whether you state a change as a percentage of the whole or as a percentage of the remainder makes a big difference in the common perception of it. What were the final figures anyway.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Here are most of them.

    Sucrocide 10%
    Fluvalinate 3%
    Apiguard 10%
    Cuomophos 3%
    Formic Acid based 6%
    Powdered sugar -2% (meaning more likely to die)
    Drone removal -1%
    SBB 2%
    Small Cell -0.4%
    MiteAThol 1%
    Grease Patty 3%
    Antibiotics 2%
    Fumagillin -0.2%
    Nosevet 0%
    Small Hive Beetle trap 9%
    Mineral Oil -0.5%

    In an overall comparison of methods (losses)
    No non-bee products 33.6%
    Natural 35.6%
    Prefer natural 33.1
    Anything 35.7%
    Other 30.8%

    Many of these are within the margin of error meaning they don't show a significant difference.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #16
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Just as a reminder, the survey counts colony losses after October 1st as winter losses, so keep track for the survey next year.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Bump.

    I keep referring people to this survey and it can be hard to find if you don't know what you're looking for.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Tried to take the survey, but no foreigners allowed.

    As the focus in this thread seems to be focussing on losses for TF vs non TF, my own personal losses have skyrocketed since setting up some TF hives.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    871

    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    So I've been reading some of the survey results and admit to being somewhat disheartened by what I am reading. There really doesn't seem to be much difference between treating and not treating. (Argh. I was hoping for at least some CLUE as to which way to go on this!) About 27% die-off every winter. That's the only number that does seem to be improving. But WHY is it improving? I can't see anything there that even hints at the reason, or am I just not reading it right?

    What I find disappointing is that with all the information in this thing, there is nothing about the bees themselves. I mean, USDA has introduced how many new resistant strains now, yet nobody seems to be measuring whether or not these new strains are having any impact. Don't we need to know that too? Shouldn't we be asking how many are using them and if they are having any success with them? Or did I somehow miss that part?

    sigh. I was hoping to be able to use the survey to help guide me in some choices, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way.


    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  20. #20
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Bee Informed National Survey

    Well the results won't quite tell the whole story. The TF respondants would be a tiny proportion of the total number of hives reported on. TF beekeepers who are failing / have failed, would be less likely to respond. And the TF beekeepers who did respond mainly run small and often isolated, stationary apiaries, which contrast markedly to the stresses that commercial migratory hives are put under.

    Among Tf beekeepers there are a few stars with good results, who will no doubt be happy to respond to the survey. However having read this forum going back several years I know that only 27% losses annually would be a pipe dream for many. Try dropping a tf yard of bees from say, Sol, into the middle of a large migratory commercial operation and see what's happened to those bees in another year. All things being equal I think you would have to say that treated bees will be more likely to survive. They definately are where I am.

    Having said all that, is it important? Well, not so much. Somebody on the TF forum trying to tell a large commercial beekeeper that there is no point them treating because their losses will be the same anyway, is wasting their time. The commercial guy needs his bees to not just survive, but turn a profit. Here on the TF forum survival seems to be the only measure.

    Conversely, those who are attempting TF should not be discouraged by losses provided they can make enough increase to be sustainable. My own view is if I go TF, I'm going to have losses. But I accept that as a cost of the experiment.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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