First Scottish Bee Health Survey
Acording to BeeBase Scottish Government did publish (on 6. 6. 2013) first Bee Health Survey. »The survey was designed to assess the health status of honey bees in Scotland and gain a better understanding of how factors such as husbandry and disease affect them.«
Key results of survey include
– 39 per cent of beekeepers questioned lost at least one colony during winter 2011-12 and 79 per cent lost at least one colony during winter 2012-13
– Beekeepers identified weather, queen health, starvation and Varroa mites as the main risk factors
– The highest winter losses in 2012-13 were sustained in the Highlands; the lowest losses were in Tayside
– The average Scottish beekeeper has been beekeeping for less than 10 years, manages five or fewer colonies and produces 20-29lb of honey per colony annually
– Foulbrood disease and other notifiable pests were not found outwith known disease areas
– Varroa mites were present in all nine regions inspected, although smaller areas of Varroa freedom may still exist in parts of Scotland
How exact is Bee Health Survey?
Hard to say, especial if we know that in a lot of countries beekeepers are avoiding exact data due to (potential) problems with inspection if something goes really wrong. But for sure we can say that there is a trend of bigger losses in the last few years.
This Survey shows that, like in the most European countries, winter beekeeping season 2012/13 has been difficult. The main factor for that result is in Varroa mite and bed weather.
Because of that Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead desided »That’s why I recently announced that we would provide £200,000 to help bee farmers restock«.
In Scotland is approximately 2,400 hobby beekeepers so any help will do better than nothing. Still this is probably just a temporary solution, all beekeepers should think how to keep (healthy) bees in the future.
Source: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk and http://www.scotland.gov.uk