Welcome to NY Bee Wellness, your source for maintaining healthy honey bee colonies

an educational nonprofit program to teach beekeepers honey bee disease recognition & to promote honey bee health

News and Updates

Late Fall 2019 NY Bee Wellness Newsletter


NOW OPEN! Fall 2019 NY Bee Wellness Survey


Early Fall NY Bee wellness Newsletter 2019


Early Summer 2019 NY Bee Wellness Newsletter with Survey results!


Spring Survey 2019 NY Bee Wellness Results!


NY Bee Wellness Newsletter Mid Winter 2019 with Fall Survey Results!


November 2018 Newsletter NY Bee Wellness


September 2018 Newsletter NY Bee Wellness


RESULTS Spring 2018 Survey NY Bee Wellness


NY Bee Wellness Workshop Long Island July 27-29 2018


February 2018 NY Bee Wellness Newsletter with Fall Survey Results


December 2017 Newsletter NY Bee Wellness


Summer 2017 Newsletter NY Bee Wellness, Survey Results


Spring Survey 2017 NY Bee Wellness Results!


Swarm, Varroa Count, & Virus mapping


July 7-9 NY Bee Wellness Workshop 2017


Put NY Bee Wellness in the NYS Budget!


NY Bee Wellness Lecture videos on YouTube


NY Bee Wellness Late Winter 2017 Newsletter


NY Bee Wellness Fall Survey 2016 Results


Overview: The average respondent started with 6 hives at the end of winter and increased their number of hives mostly by making splits, and entering winter with 10 hives. Some hives were combined before winter. Fewer packages and nucleus hives were purchased in 2016 likely because the winter of 2015-2016 had only a 24% loss. 21% of beekeepers intend to overwinter nucs. 72% of respondents were pleased to some extent, with the 2016 honey crop, 23% were definitely not, due to the widespread drought conditions in the mid to late summer. There was an unsettling trend of Fall dwindling and absconding, perhaps an omen for 2016-2017 winter survival/loss.


Fall 2016 Newsletter NY Bee Wellness


Fall Survey 2016 NY Bee Wellness -now open


Randy Oliver talks about NY Bee Wellness VIDEO

Randy Oliver of ScientificBeekeeping.com talks about NY Bee Wellness, at the 3 day NY Bee Wellness workshop at Dyce Lab, August 7, 2016


NY Bee Wellness Newsletter /Summer 2016 with the Spring 2016 Survey RESULTS

NY Bee Wellness Newsletter /Summer 2016
with the Spring 2016 Survey RESULTS

Fight the Mite! Check your mite levels
2 year Project for NYS
Randy Oliver Workshop Aug 5-7
Spring 2016 Spring Survey results
Queens and Nucs
European Foulbrood

NY Pollinator Week
NYS Pollinator Protection Plan
Apiary Industry Advisory Committee
How to submit comments!.


Spring Survey 2016 NY Bee Wellness Results!

Spring Survey 2016 NY Bee Wellness

Thank you to all who have completed the survey!

The survey represents a sample of non-migratory beekeepers from across New York State. The results may also assist those who are conducting classes for or providing mentoring to other beekeepers.
Please send any comments,suggestions, or questions. The survey can be further refined on request.
Please watch for the NY Bee Wellness Fall Survey this year.

NOTE: If the data does not display properly, please view the email in your browser by clicking the link in the upper right corner of this page.

Links to the state regional survey results are at the bottom of the page.
Healthy Bees – NY Bee Wellness

300 Non-migratory beekeepers reported, from 57 of 62 counties in New York State

3267- Total number of bee colonies in November 2015; average of 11 hives per beekeeper
2498- Total number of bee colonies in April 2016; average of 8 hives per beekeeper

24%- Average loss of colonies during the winter of 2015-2016 (total 769 hives lost).
The loss for the Winter of 2014-2015 was 28%
The loss for the Winter of 2013-2014 was 48%.

Most notable: almost 1/3 (32.2%) of 2016 respondents had zero winter loss, possible factors: a mild winter, and favorable honey crop in 2015. Some lost hives during the Spring frosts.
-For the winter of 2014-2015, 15.7% of respondents had zero loss.

Beekeepers overwintering nucleus colonies- (23% of respondents) had 27% Loss of overwintered nucs
What SYMPTOMS did you observe in dead hives?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
small or weak cluster (handful of bees with few on bottom board) 33.6% 101
large number of dead bees at floor of hive 29.2% 88
Bees with heads in cells 29.9% 90
moldy comb 7.0% 21
capped brood 9.0% 27
capped brood with perforations 4.3% 13
deformed wings 0.7% 2
“K”wings 0.7% 2
queen cells/queen cups 9.0% 27
dysentery (excessive fecal material on front of hive and inside hive) 4.3% 13
“sawdust” like material 5.6% 17
Accident (hive blew over etc) 3.3% 10
Nuisance animals (mice, raccoon, bear) 5.0% 15
other (comment below) 28.9% 87
unknown 10.6% 32
Other (please specify) 122
answered question 301
What do you assess to be the MAIN CAUSE of hive death?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
No loss 32.2% 97
1)Starvation (no honey stores) 12.3% 37
2) small or weak cluster (handful of bees with few on bottom board) 23.9% 72
3) varroa mite (mite guanine deposits) 12.6% 38
4) virus/mites 9.6% 29
5) poor ventilation ( mold and/or soggy bees) 4.7% 14
6) possible queen failure ( lack of brood, queen cells/queen cups) 18.9% 57
7) dysentery (excessive fecal material on front of hive and inside hive) 2.3% 7
8) Cold (adequate number of bees, honey stores) 13.6% 41
9) Accident (hive blew over etc) 3.0% 9
10) Nuisance animals (mice, raccoon, bear) 3.0% 9
11)other (comment below) 4.3% 13
12) unknown 11.3% 34
13) brood disease 0.3% 1
Other (please specify) 20.3% 61
answered question 301
What Fall and Winter treatments, supplemental feeds did you use?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Fumagillin 3.7% 11
Oxalic- vapor or trickle/dribble 16.9% 51
Antibiotics- Tylosin, Terramycin 2.0% 6
Formic acid- Mite Away QS 25.9% 78
Apistan (fluvalinate) 2.3% 7
Amitraz- Apivar 5.0% 15
Hopguard 4.7% 14
Thymol- Apiguard, Api-Life Var 4.7% 14
Sugar Syrup 31.2% 94
protein patties 18.9% 57
granulated sugar- sugar bricks 21.9% 66
candy board or patties 13.0% 39
fondant 13.6% 41
none 22.6% 68
Other (please specify) 10.6% 32
answered question 301

For the 2016 season how do you intend to obtain new colonies or increase?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
make splits 62.8% 187
raise queens 18.8% 56
buy southern packages (Georgia, Florida, S. Carolina, etc) 18.1% 54
buy western packages (California) 4.0% 12
buy southern nucs (Georgia, Florida, S. Carolina, etc) 6.0% 18
buy Northern nucs (New York, Vermont, Ohio, etc) 26.8% 80
swarms and cut-outs 33.2% 99
Other (please specify) 9.4% 28
answered question 298

Some survey respondent comments:

“Starvation-one hive during the last week of April. Very cold and rainy – 10 days plus.”
“There were a few bees with their heads in the cells, but not a huge amount. The bees just kept getting smaller and smaller in number. Then they just weren’t there.”
“I participated in a USDA test for colonies last summer (July) that tested for a number of things (mites, viruses, Nosema) Baffling to me was that my colonies had no nosema among the 1038 bees sampled in alcohol. The bees in that yard had high levels of a newly discovered virus (LSV-2) in the same family as CPBV. However, in that yard, a formic acid treatment followed by Apivar resulted in 11 of 12 colonies surviving. Most losses were in November/December of 2015, and I suspect viruses, but possibly also pesticide. No bees were found in most of the hives. 2 died of starvation, and 3 were queenless, which I counted as losses”
“Several of our overwintered hives are showing signs of having weak queens…spotty brood and irregular random scattered drone cells. These will need to be requeened asap. The process of accessing queen vitality and replacing faltering queens is requiring an ever increasing commitment of time and energy with our hives.”
“I feel extremely lucky. I did not feel my hives were in great shape going into the fall. 2 were larger than I like, 3 were smaller. I wrapped, provided wind blocks, insulating/moisture controlling hay in a super over the inner cover. I added food twice without looking below the inner cover.”
“Attempting treatment free beekeeping, entering 4th year. Only use local survivors from swarms and cut-outs”


Some of the reviews for NY Bee Wellness, Thank you!

* ” Thank you so much – your work is so important to us!! ”

* ” Thank you for all you hard work on behalf of honey bees and beekeepers. Great photos for reference ”

* Thanks for all of the work NY Bee Wellness does ”


NY Bee Wellness Workshops- Honeybee Disease, Aug 5-7


Spring 2016 Survey open! NY Bee Wellness


NY Bee Wellness Newsletter /Late Winter 2016 with the Fall 2015 Survey RESULTS



Fall 2015 Survey RESULTS NY Bee Wellness

http://eepurl.com/bRBxVX NY Bee Wellness Fall Survey 2015 Results Thank you to all who have completed the survey! The survey represents a sample of 268 non-migratory beekeepers from 56 counties in New York State. Highlights: The average respondent started with 5 hives at the end of winter and increased their number of hives by more than […]


NY Bee Wellness Fall Newsletter 2015


Fall Survey 2015 NY Bee Wellness

Fall Survey 2015 NY Bee Wellness ; https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M8HHD88


NY Bee Wellness wins International Award for Outreach



August 22, 2015 NY Bee Wellness Workshop At Dyce Lab, Cornell with John Skinner


NY Bee Wellness Newsletter Summer 2015 with SURVEY RESULTS

NY Bee Wellness Newsletter Summer 2015 with SURVEY RESULTS: http://eepurl.com/bo2wAr


NY Bee Wellness Spring Survey 2015 RESULTS

NY Bee Wellness Spring Survey 2015 RESULTS: http://eepurl.com/brHMhr


Oxalic Acid approved for use in NY 5/29/2015

Oxalic Acid Dihydrate was registered Friday, May 29th, in New York State.


Issues facing the Beekeeping Industry- T. Jadczak, Maine State Apiarist

Issues facing the Beekeeping Industry- T. Jadczak, Maine State Apiarist


OSU Webinar “American Foulbrood” Jim Tew 5/20

Jim Tew, Extension Specialist with Alabama Cooperative Extension Service will lead our next webinar on American foulbrood at 9AM Eastern on May 20th.

American foulbrood is a traditional, well established honey bee disease. In recent times, CCD and predaceous mite invasions have stolen some of the glamour from this bacterial disease, but that does not mean that it should be ignored. This webinar will cover the effects of American foulbrood (AFB), its general spread, its appearance and what – if anything – can be done to contain its spread. There is no need to fear AFB, but it must be respected.


VIDEO: honey bee metamorphosis



NY Bee Wellness SPRING SURVEY 2015 with photos



Poor nutrition for honey bee larvae compromises pollination capabilities as adults


Public Release: 8-Apr-2015
Poor nutrition for honey bee larvae compromises pollination capabilities as adults

New study shows possible link to colony collapse disorder

Wellesley College

WELLESLEY, Mass. – A new study by Heather Mattila, a leading honey bee ecologist and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College, published on April 8 in PLOS ONE, reveals that inadequate access to pollen during larval development has lifelong consequences for honey bees, leading not only to smaller workers and shorter lifespans, but also to impaired performance and productivity later in life. For the first time, this study demonstrates a crucial link between poor nutrition at a young age, and foraging and waggle dancing, the two most important activities that honey bees perform as providers for their colonies and as pollinators of human crops. The study was co-authored by Hailey Scofield, Wellesley Class of 2013, a former undergraduate research assistant who will begin a Ph. D program (in Neurobiology and Behavior) at Cornell University in Fall 2015.

The need to study nutritional stress in honey bees has grown pressing in recent years. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency named nutritional stress one of the top research priorities for understanding unexplained losses of honey bee colonies, a phenomenon known in the U.S. as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). With bee pollination accounting for over $15 billion in food crops and $150 million in honey annually in the United States alone, bee losses have enormous ecological and economic consequences. If bees vanish, many plants, including vital food crops like apples, almonds, berries and cucumbers, may also be at risk. Researchers believe there may be several interrelated factors contributing to bee decline, including nutritional stress, loss of foraging habitat, pesticides, pathogens, and parasites. These concerns prompted President Obama to form a Pollinator Health Task Force in 2014, an unprecedented action that named studies of the effect of poor nutrition on bees as one of its primary goals.

While a number of sophisticated nutrition studies have been undertaken recently, the Wellesley study is the first to show that nutritional deficits early in life can have far-reaching consequences for adult honey bees, including effects on complex behaviors like foraging and waggle dancing. “Nutritional stress has long been known to shorten bees’ lifespan,” stated Mattila, “but we’ve never had such a clear understanding of its impact on the tasks they perform, or known that its effects persist until their last days, even when bees have plentiful food as adults.”

The study is also one of the few to be conducted entirely in a natural hive environment, which allowed larvae and adults to function in normal colonies, rather than in the incubators and cages that are more typical of nutrition studies. This unique methodology allowed Mattila, Scofield, and their undergraduate research assistants to observe the bees foraging and dancing in a natural context, activities they would not be able to perform in artificial lab conditions.

Foraging and waggle dancing are especially important to the health of a honey bee colony because they are the key means by which honey bees acquire food supplies like nectar and pollen, and communicate with other bees about the location of food sources and nest sites. When honey bee larvae were raised with a limited pollen supply, as might happen during periods of bad weather or as a consequence of habitat loss or commercial management practices, there were multiple negative consequences. The pollen-stressed bees were lighter and died younger, and fewer bees foraged. Those that did foraged earlier, for fewer days, and were more likely to die after just one day of foraging. Pollen-stressed workers were also less likely to waggle dance than workers that had been well-fed as larvae, and if they danced, the information they conveyed about the location of food sources was less precise. “Their dances were often visibly inconsistent and almost disoriented in the worst instances,” said Scofield.

Importantly, nutritional stress interacts with a number of other stress factors, like pesticides and pathogens, which are already known to decrease longevity and impair foraging ability, creating a vicious cycle of poor health and population decline. Nutritional stress is also tied in part to a loss of foraging habitat, which can compound stresses from pesticide use and other commercial practices. Poor foraging and waggle dancing, in turn, could escalate bee decline if long-term pollen limitation if it prevents stressed foragers from providing sufficiently for developing workers. “If poor foraging habitats impose nutritional stress in colonies, then our study shows that the average stressed bee cannot compensate for reduced foraging opportunities by working harder to find food. This likely exacerbates nutritional stress and further limits the colony’s ability to overcome food-finding challenges in areas that are no longer suitable for bees,” explained Mattila.

The study also suggests that poor nutrition has the potential to undermine colony health and promote collapse. Conversely, ensuring that honey bees have access to diverse and plentiful forage throughout the year could mitigate the potential for collapse. “This means keeping bees in areas that are bee friendly, green, and full of flowering plants within the normal foraging radius of a colony, regularly checking colonies’ food supplies, and providing supplements when natural forage is not available or colony stores are low,” said Mattila. “Failure to provide these necessities may impose a legacy of dysfunction on colonies.”


Research assistance was provided by Wellesley undergraduates Amanda Gardner, Rachel Reed, Catherine Oleskewicz, Anita Yau, and Amina Ziad. Additional funding was provided by the Essex County Beekeepers’ Association of Massachusetts.

About Wellesley College

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been the preeminent liberal arts college for women. Known for its intellectual rigor and its remarkable track record for the cultivation of women leaders in every arena, Wellesley–only 12 miles from Boston–is home to some 2400 undergraduates from every state and 75 countries.

Photos and Interview Opportunities Available

Press Contacts:

Sofiya Cabalquinto, 781-283-3321, scabalqu@wellesley.edu


Oxalic and Hopguard II update

March 19, 2015- The EPA issued an approval (section 3) for Oxalic Acid Dihydrate 97% to be used as a miticide on March 10. Hopefully the availability of labeled Oxalic Acid and the NYS DEC approval should take place in a few weeks. In New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), must approve the […]


UC Davis apiculture Newsletter Jan/Feb 2015

UC Davis JanFeb 2015(pdf)

Topics include: NEW Hopguard; Flupyradifurone; etc.
From Elina L. Niño, Ph.D.
Extension Apiculturist



NY Bee Wellness Winter Newsletter 2015


Nosema Ceranae in US Bees as early as 1975

Survey for Nosema in preserved Apis

Brenna E. TRAVER, Richard D. FELL
Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
Received 17 April 2014 – Revised 8 June 2014 – Accepted 3 July 2014

Determining when N. ceranae expanded its
host range is difficult as analysis of older samples
is limited because of the lack of preserved samples.

In this study, we purchased preserved, well
cataloged bee samples from a reputable insect
supply company. The samples had been preserved
in ethanol and detailed notes were taken regarding
their collection date and location.

Apis mellifera workers from 1975 (from
Los Angeles County, CA) were co-infected
with both N. apis and N. ceranae (Table I). The percent
infected for both species was high: 80 % for N. ceranae
and 73 % for N. apis


UC Davis apiculture Newsletter Nov/Dec 2014

Topics include: Amitraz; Residues in Winter; etc.
From Elina L. Niño, Ph.D.
Extension Apiculturist


Apis Newsletter by Malcolm T. Sanford Dec. 2014

Apiculture news blog by Malcolm Sanford.


RESULTS! 2014 Fall Survey NY Bee Wellness



Podcast interview with Randy Oliver of ScientificBeekeeping.com


1.25 hour podcast by a New Zealand beekeeper; taped December 18, 2014

Here’s What You’ll Learn

How Randy got started in Beekeeping with a Diving Mask.
What does Randy enjoy about beekeeping
The Internet doesn’t have any editor
Don’t give up on a new treatment that you have only use once. Check that you are using it correctly for your conditions.
What are Randy’s Top three ways to control varroa mites
Does America have a true Varroa resistant bee yet?
Randy’s thoughts on what causes ‘CCD’
Randy’s thoughts about neonicotinoid class of pesticides
The Anti-GMO movement is misguided according to Randy
Randy’s beekeeping plans for the next season


Should the Agricultural Use of Neonicotinoids Be Banned?

A team of entomology graduate students from the University of California, Davis, successfully argued at the Entomological Society of America’s recent student debates that a ban on the insecticides in agriculture “will not improve pollinator health or restore populations, based on current science. Neonicotinoids are important for control of many significant agricultural and veterinary pests. Part of the solution is to develop better regulations that will protect the health of pollinators and retain the use of an important IPM tool.”


Discovery at Univ of Guelph aims to fight American Foul Brood

Researchers hope their new discovery will help combat a disease killing honeybee populations around the world. The researchers have found a toxin released by the pathogen that causes American foulbrood disease — Paenibacillus larvae — and developed a lead-based inhibitor against it.



How do Varroa Mites Know when to Leave Honey Bee Hives?

The team analyzed the blend of waxy substances coating the bees’ surfaces and found that in hives with low rates of mite infection, the wax on the nurses was very different from the wax of the foragers — which the mites are probably able to detect


NY Bee Wellness Summer Newsletter 2014



How Varroa Amplifies Honey Bee Viral Infections


Honey Bee Health Management Workshop, Ohio State Univ


Yearly Survey Shows Better Results for Pollinators


Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog


Video of worker offloading some pollen


August 9/10 Workshop

Saturday/Sunday, Leroy NY (Genesee County), 9a-4p each day.


June 7/8 Workshop

Saturday/Sunday, Wappingers Falls NY (Dutchess County), 9a-4p each day