Spring 2016 survey results.
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NY Bee Wellness Workshops,, a 501c3 charitable educational nonprofit program to teach beekeepers honey bee disease recognition & to promote honey bee health.
USDA NIFA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program,Grant #2011-494400-30631

Spring Survey 2016 NY Bee Wellness

Thank you to all who have completed the survey!

The survey represents a sample of non-migratory beekeepers from across New York State
. The results may also assist those who are conducting classes for or providing mentoring to other beekeepers.
Please send any comments,suggestions, or questions. The survey can be further refined on request.
Please watch for the NY Bee Wellness Fall Survey this year.

NOTE: If the data does not display properly, please view the email in your browser by clicking the link in the upper right corner of this page.

Links to the state regional survey results are at the bottom of the page.

Healthy Bees - NY Bee Wellness

 300 Non-migratory beekeepers reported, from 57 of 62 counties in New York State

3267- Total number of bee colonies in November 2015; average of 11 hives per beekeeper
2498- Total number of bee colonies in April 2016; average of 8 hives per beekeeper

24%- Average loss of colonies during the winter of 2015-2016 (total 769 hives lost).
The loss for the Winter of 2014-2015 was 28%
The loss for the Winter of 2013-2014 was 48%.

Most notable: almost 1/3 (32.2%) of 2016 respondents had zero winter loss, possible factors: a mild winter, and favorable honey crop in 2015. Some lost hives during the Spring frosts.
-For the winter of 2014-2015, 15.7% of respondents had zero loss.

 Beekeepers overwintering nucleus colonies- (23% of respondents) had 27% Loss of overwintered nucs

What SYMPTOMS did you observe in dead hives?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
small or weak cluster (handful of bees with few on bottom board) 33.6% 101
large number of dead bees at floor of hive 29.2% 88
Bees with heads in cells 29.9% 90
moldy comb 7.0% 21
capped brood 9.0% 27
capped brood with perforations 4.3% 13
deformed wings 0.7% 2
"K"wings 0.7% 2
queen cells/queen cups 9.0% 27
dysentery (excessive fecal material on front of hive and inside hive) 4.3% 13
"sawdust" like material 5.6% 17
Accident (hive blew over etc) 3.3% 10
Nuisance animals (mice, raccoon, bear) 5.0% 15
other (comment below) 28.9% 87
unknown 10.6% 32
Other (please specify) 122
answered question 301
What do you assess to be the MAIN CAUSE of hive death?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
No loss 32.2% 97
1)Starvation (no honey stores) 12.3% 37
2) small or weak cluster (handful of bees with few on bottom board) 23.9% 72
3) varroa mite (mite guanine deposits) 12.6% 38
4) virus/mites 9.6% 29
5) poor ventilation ( mold and/or soggy bees) 4.7% 14
6) possible queen failure ( lack of brood, queen cells/queen cups) 18.9% 57
7) dysentery (excessive fecal material on front of hive and inside hive) 2.3% 7
8) Cold (adequate number of bees, honey stores) 13.6% 41
9) Accident (hive blew over etc) 3.0% 9
10) Nuisance animals (mice, raccoon, bear) 3.0% 9
11)other (comment below) 4.3% 13
12) unknown 11.3% 34
13) brood disease 0.3% 1
Other (please specify) 20.3% 61
answered question 301
What Fall and Winter treatments, supplemental feeds did you use?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Fumagillin 3.7% 11
Oxalic- vapor or trickle/dribble 16.9% 51
Antibiotics- Tylosin, Terramycin 2.0% 6
Formic acid- Mite Away QS 25.9% 78
Apistan (fluvalinate) 2.3% 7
Amitraz- Apivar 5.0% 15
Hopguard 4.7% 14
Thymol- Apiguard, Api-Life Var 4.7% 14
Sugar Syrup 31.2% 94
protein patties 18.9% 57
granulated sugar- sugar bricks 21.9% 66
candy board or patties 13.0% 39
fondant 13.6% 41
none 22.6% 68
Other (please specify) 10.6% 32
answered question 301
For the 2016 season how do you intend to obtain new colonies or increase?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
make splits 62.8% 187
raise queens 18.8% 56
buy southern packages (Georgia, Florida, S. Carolina, etc) 18.1% 54
buy western packages (California) 4.0% 12
buy southern nucs (Georgia, Florida, S. Carolina, etc) 6.0% 18
buy Northern nucs (New York, Vermont, Ohio, etc) 26.8% 80
swarms and cut-outs 33.2% 99
Other (please specify) 9.4% 28
answered question 298

Some survey respondent comments:

  • "Starvation-one hive during the last week of April. Very cold and rainy - 10 days plus."
  • "There were a few bees with their heads in the cells, but not a huge amount. The bees just kept getting smaller and smaller in number. Then they just weren't there."
  • "I participated in a USDA test for colonies last summer (July) that tested for a number of things (mites, viruses, Nosema) Baffling to me was that my colonies had no nosema among the 1038 bees sampled in alcohol. The bees in that yard had high levels of a newly discovered virus (LSV-2) in the same family as CPBV. However, in that yard, a formic acid treatment followed by Apivar resulted in 11 of 12 colonies surviving. Most losses were in November/December of 2015, and I suspect viruses, but possibly also pesticide. No bees were found in most of the hives. 2 died of starvation, and 3 were queenless, which I counted as losses"
  • "Several of our overwintered hives are showing signs of having weak queens...spotty brood and irregular random scattered drone cells. These will need to be requeened asap. The process of accessing queen vitality and replacing faltering queens is requiring an ever increasing commitment of time and energy with our hives."
  • "I feel extremely lucky. I did not feel my hives were in great shape going into the fall. 2 were larger than I like, 3 were smaller. I wrapped, provided wind blocks, insulating/moisture controlling hay in a super over the inner cover. I added food twice without looking below the inner cover."
  • "Attempting treatment free beekeeping, entering 4th year. Only use local survivors from swarms and cut-outs"


Some of the reviews for NY Bee Wellness, Thank you!

* " Thank you so much - your work is so important to us!! "
* " Thank you for all you hard work on behalf of honey bees and beekeepers. Great photos for reference "
* Thanks for all of the work NY Bee Wellness does "

Continue this beneficial program,
Please consider donating to continue more surveys,educational programs and outreach. Your donation supports our work. Please consider making a donation to NY Bee Wellness or mail your donation to NY Bee Wellness, Inc POB 25291 Rochester NY 14625.


            - Pat Bono, Project Director, NY Bee Wellness
Donate to NY Bee Wellness
NY Bee Wellness is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Please click on links below for regional survey data.

Western Region: Erie, Niagara, Cattaragus, Chautauqua, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Allegheny Counties. (Albany, Jamestown)


North Central Region: Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Yates, Wayne, Seneca, Yates Counties. (Rochester, Canandaigua)


South Central Region: Schuyler, Cayuga, Tompkins, Chemung, Steuben, Tioga, Cortland Counties. (Ithaca)


East Central Region: Oneida, Onondaga, Madison, Chenango, Broome, Delaware, Otsego, Herkimer Counties. (Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton)


Northern Region: Jefferson, Oswego, Lewis, St Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Warren Counties. (Watertown)


Eastern Region: Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington, Schoharie, Albany, Rensselaer Counties. (Albany)


South East Region: Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester Counties. (Poughkepsie, Kingston)


NYC Metro Region: Bronx, Richmond, Kings, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk

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POB 25291 Rochester NY 14625

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