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Discussion Starter #1
I am reading about the USDA suspending the collecting data on colony losses. I'm generally not too keen on government programs like this, as my experience is that they are inefficient and don't really get anything done to solve the problem. But, I'm am only a hobbyist and not familiar with this particular program, so my question is this: Is losing this a problem for beekeepers? Does it/has it done any good? Will it be missed? Can the industry do it on its own? Any other thoughts?

Also...I'm not trying to get a political discussion going. No need to go there, that's for sure.

Thanks in advance.

Matt
 

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well when it first came out I posted to our local clubs and asked if anyone had ever used or looked at the data, no response. If you could figure out a way to search through beesource, every year there was a thread when the govt. started asking(the res-ponders usually referred to as harassment) for the information, most commercial beeks said they didn't keep records that would match what they were asking, so they just gave them numbers. Now the people that file every year for ELAP money could have a problem, off the top of my head there has to be substantial losses that year for them to get the govt money, where does the govt get the numbers from, the usda, so I'm guessing that it will be a two edged sword, they will save the salary of the person who ends out the forms, and they won't have to pay any ELAP money. Being the cheap person I am, I would consider that a win win situation. :banana:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Mike. I browsed through some of the comments before I posted...most were quite old, but the posters seemed to think it was a hassle, and poorly administered. I haven't seen any comments on here about the current situation, so I'm either not looking in the right place or people are shrugging it off. I didn't know anything about ELAP (like I said, I'm just a hobbyist with four hives), but it seems like that would be the best way for USDA to confirm numbers.

I know Senator Schumer in NY had a press conference about it today, suggesting that pesticide companies may behind the administration's ending the program. Again, I'm not interested in pulling anyone's political tail, but that seems far fetched to me.
 

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USDA NASS has collected and reported honey bee losses since 1943. In 2006, when commercial beekeepers started reporting massive losses, the NASS report reflected these numbers and confirmed the anecdotal reports of beekeepers in the field: something was happening that was killing bees throughout the nation. Because this loss was measurable and evidence-based (at least the numbers, not the causes), ENORMOUS media attention, research, resources and money were quickly drawn to solving the problem we now know as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

What if we did not have any of those numbers? When would we have recognized the problem? Would we have mobilized as quickly?

Well, we don't have the numbers anymore. So I guess we will just find out what happens without them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I didn't know that CCD numbers were used to corroborate what commercial beekeepers were reporting. That would be a problem to be sure. I also didn't know that these numbers had been compiled since 1943. I've read a couple books on CCD, but not recently. I probably ought to pull the off the shelf and reread them. It does seem risky to not have those numbers anymore.

Thanks.
 

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I thought I read somewhere that the program that has been suspended only started in 2015. And it was a government program that duplicated the efforts of the BIP. Am I wrong about this?
 

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I participated for a number of years. They would send out the forms and if they hadn’t gotten a reply in a couple of days…they’d be calling and next thing you knew one of their people would be knocking on your door. Then it got worse. The guy would come knocking on your door days BEFORE you even received your form. I told the fellow one year that it was obvious that they had a whole lot more idle time than I did. I asked to be taken off the list. I refused to fill out the form….even when the guy came. Their timing was awful…for me. I didn’t have the data compiled in December. I still got the forms last December. I, for one, won’t be sorry to see it go.
 

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USDA NASS has collected and reported honey bee losses since 1943. In 2006, when commercial beekeepers started reporting massive losses, the NASS report reflected these numbers and confirmed the anecdotal reports of beekeepers in the field: something was happening that was killing bees throughout the nation. Because this loss was measurable and evidence-based (at least the numbers, not the causes), ENORMOUS media attention, research, resources and money were quickly drawn to solving the problem we now know as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
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not sure how to find it again, but hackenburg was the poster child for ccd, the bee inspector for main had a presentation for the year hackenburg had his losses, when his bees were in Main for blueberries, the inspector called him and said your bees are mite infested, he didn't respond, then in the presentation he showed pictures of the masses of bees hanging in the trees because they pulled the hives in the middle of the day. If you kill you're bees and have elap to pay for you're loses you can call it anything you want.
 

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I thought I read somewhere that the program that has been suspended only started in 2015. And it was a government program that duplicated the efforts of the BIP. Am I wrong about this?
If there is reliable duplication, then I would support it's suspension. That could be the case, and if so, fine. USDA has been tracking, in some form or another, hive numbers in the country since WWII. I misspoke in my earlier post. They have not tracked hive losses since that time. They have tracked only hive numbers. Losses can somewhat be extrapolated from that, but not all drops in numbers can necessarily be attributable to hive losses.
 

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I am a participant of the USDA's ELAP program for honeybees. I must report number of hives/losses each month to stay in the program. I just checked with the USDA folks and they are not aware of any changes to the reporting. FWIW
 

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By all appearances it looks like they are only eliminating the quarterly reporting. I suspect that the annual survey will continue.
 

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The program is a joke and a real pita. I quit answering their calls because the timing and the time frame was horrible and they were relentless in their pursuit of numbers however far fetched they might be. You would typically get a questionnaire in the mail a few days before the end of each quarter followed immediately by phone calls asking for hive numbers before the quarter even ended! For example I would take a call on March 28th (when we are trying to finish up nucing) asking for hive numbers as of April 1st all I could say is "I have no idea" their response "can't you just make a good guess"? If this was maybe semi annual and you were given a period of time to compile some numbers it might make a little more sense. But hey, Chuck Schumer says we need this so I guess he would know. :rolleyes:
 

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As I think about this, I recall that the quarterly survey is a recent addition. The annual survey has been ongoing for years. The quarterly, if my memory serves me, may have been triggered by the results of a Bee Informed survey that indicated that mid season losses were a significant issue. Until that time they had focused on fall and winter losses.
I don’t doubt that commercial beekeepers were annoyed by overzealous data collectors harassing them four times a year…. when the beekeepers were already working dawn to dusk just to keep their operations in motion.
Regardless…in my opinion….good riddance.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The responses to this have been great. It's good to hear from actual beeks, especially those who do this for a living.
 

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It appears that the quarterly survey is alive. I got the paperwork in the mail and have a message on my answering machine following up.
 
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