Current and planned activities and reach of the monitoring group.

Alison Gray, Robert Brodschneider

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


An ongoing goal of the monitoring group is to expand the representation of countries participating in the group, for a better overview of colony loss rates, and the group continues to be active in recruiting new contacts with potential to run their own national surveys.
In 2017, 30 countries sent data from their monitoring survey to the international data co-ordinator for inclusion in the data analysis, a net increase of 1 country on last year. In fact data was received from Malta, Mexico and Serbia, as new countries to the monitoring group, and Belarus joined in once more, having taken part in 2015. Portugal has started monitoring but, owing to some local delays, their survey is in progress at the time of writing. We hope that it may be possible to include these data in a later analysis. Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina (a previous participant), Greece, Luxemburg and Armenia were also possibilities for monitoring, and remain so for next year.
However as new countries join in, others are sometimes unable to continue. Some countries participating last time did not send data this year. Of those countries Turkey took part in 2016 after a break of a few years, but was unable to contribute in 2017. Lithuania had some difficulties with data return in 2016 and did not contribute at all this year. The Netherlands did not monitor this year, but has been a key contributor of data every year since the beginning of the monitoring group. Data quality remains an issue that hinders some of the analysis and limits the usefulness of some of the data collected. Special efforts were made to emphasise the importance of submitted data passing quality checks, through email communication, presentations, and also by including instructions to national co-ordinators as part of the codebook provided for data return. Despite this, some datasets did not comply with the coding rules, which delays analysis, and not all cases are useable owing to missing or inconsistent data. Disappointingly, for one country most of the data for some essential questions was missing. More support may be needed for new countries, but some more established contributors need to focus on these issues. Providing the codebook earlier and/or collaboration at the point of design of the local questionnaire and instructions to beekeepers may be necessary to reduce the problems encountered this year.
A move towards more countries collecting data online may be helpful, for ease of access to the questionnaire and return of data by the beekeeper, as well as building in data consistency and quality checks. This will also allow new countries with widespread computer use to join in monitoring more easily with the support of those already doing online surveys.
We hope to revisit the issues of the hot countries, in Africa and the Middle East, to give more support to our existing and former partners there and to recruit new ones. Connected to this is the participation this year of Mexico.
Following the new initiative started in 2016 to submit an annual short paper on winter loss rates before more in-depth analysis, the second of this series of papers has just been submitted. This will be followed by a press release at the time of publication, expected by the end of 2017, as a change to the usual timing of this. A descriptive study of Varroa treatments in Europe is underway at the time of writing. Several other papers are planned. A priority is a review of winter loss rates to examine spatio-temporal patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017
Event13th International COLOSS Conference - Athens, Greece
Duration: 2 Nov 20173 Nov 2017


Conference13th International COLOSS Conference


  • colony loss rates
  • honey bee colony losses
  • international


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