Overwintering rates of honeybee colonies in Scotland (2016-17)

Honeybee colony losses in Scotland have risen to a staggering 25% in the last decade but the major cause(s) are unclear. To gain some insight into the major threats to honeybees in Scotland, we have been conducting an overwintering survey of Scottish honeybees for the past 5 years. This is the last (6th) year of the programme and once we have the full 6 year’s data we will analyse it for correlations between honeybee colony failures and land use, weather and reported Varroa mite infestation. Moreover, the data now covers the period in which the neonicotinoids have been banned for use on agricultural crops that attract bees. Therefore, this survey may provide further correlative evidence on the risk of neonicotinoids to honeybees.

Previously we have restricted our survey to Scottish Beekeepers Associateion (SBA) members, but other beekeepers are invited to participate. We would like to request that people wishing to join in the survey, also join their local beekeepers association and/or the SBA.

  • Academic: Christopher N Connolly
  • Funding: Insect Pollinator’s Initiative (BBSRC, NERC, Wellcome Trust, Scottish Government and DEFRA) grant to Dr. Connolly and a BBSRC Sparking Impact award to Prof. Rowan and Dr. Connolly.
  • Project Value: ~£2M
  • Dates: November 2011 – June 2017