Multi-country loss rates of honey bee colonies during winter 2016/17 from the COLOSS survey

Robert Brodschneider, Alison Gray, Noureddine Adjlane, Alexis Ballis, Valters Brusbardis, Jean-Daniel Charrière, Robert Chlebo, Mary F Coffey, Bjørn Dahle, Dirk C de Graaf, Maria Maja Dražić, Garth Evans, Mariia Fedoriak, Ivan Forsythe, Aleš Gregorc, Urszula Grzęda, Amots Hetzroni, Lassi Kauko, Preben Kristiansen, Maritta MartikkalaRaquel Martín-Hernández, Carlos Aurelio Medina-Flores, Franco Mutinelli, Aivar Raudmets, Vladimir A Ryzhikov, Noa Simon-Delso, Jevrosima Stevanovic, Aleksandar Uzunov, Flemming Vejsnæs, Saskia Wöhl, Marion Zammit-Mangion, Jiří Danihlík

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In this short note we present comparable loss rates of honey bee colonies during winter 2016/2017 from 27 European countries plus Algeria, Israel and Mexico, obtained with the COLOSS questionnaire. The 14,813 beekeepers providing valid loss data collectively wintered 425,762 colonies, and reported 21,887 (5.1%, 95% confidence interval 5.0–5.3%) colonies with unsolvable queen problems and 60,227 (14.1%, 95% CI 13.8–14.4%) dead colonies after winter. Additionally we asked for colonies lost due to natural disaster, which made up another 6,903 colonies (1.6%, 95% CI 1.5–1.7%). This results in an overall loss rate of 20.9% (95% CI 20.6–21.3%) of honey bee colonies during winter 2016/2017, with marked differences among countries. The overall analysis showed that small operations suffered higher losses than larger ones (p < 0.001). Overall migratory beekeeping had no significant effect on the risk of winter loss, though there was an effect in several countries. A table is presented giving detailed results from 30 countries. A map is also included, showing relative risk of colony winter loss at regional level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-457
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Apicultural Research
Issue number3
Early online date8 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Apis mellifera
  • citizen science
  • survey
  • beekeeping
  • monitoring
  • colony losses
  • mortality
  • overwinter


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