Every week it seems, I get asked how my bees are doing. Did they survive the winter? Are bees really dying? Is colony collapse disorder still happening? While it is true bees are struggling today more than ever and as beekeepers we have to work harder than ever before to keep our bees alive, in general our bees are doing great.
One way I know for sure is every year we participate in the USDA/APHIS National Honey Bee Health Survey to check the status of our bees. If you have 10 or more colonies in your apiary you can participate in this nationwide survey through your state inspection program. It is a great way to see how you are doing managing your bees and to check the health status of your hives. An inspection is performed by a bee inspector of 8 colonies in your apiary and samples are taken from each colony to test overall varroa mite levels, diseases, pathogens such as nosema and viruses and even pesticide levels in your apiary.
On July 31st, 2018 a Massachusetts Bee Inspector came to inspect my hives at our bee farm in Beverly. He checked each and every one for a queen, noted the health of the brood and bees and the presence and absence of disease. In addition he took samples of bees from 8 of our hives and sent them to the USDA for testing. He also sampled wax to test for pesticides in our hives.
While I am still waiting for the pesticide results to come in, I received the health results a few weeks ago from the samples he took. I am happy to share the results with you. Our bees are 100% disease free, are virtually free from varroa (just 1 found in the 1364 bees sampled which is a very small amount) and viruses. See the results for yourself here!
Our bees are doing very well. You can see the national results here. So now when people ask me how my bees are doing, I can say with proof that they are doing wonderful. See for yourself!