Workshop outcome: Estimation of honey bee colony losses - Continuity and visibility

Robert Brodschneider, Mary F. Coffey, Bjørn Dahle, Jiří Danihlík, Marica Maja Drazic, Alison Gray, Nikola Kezic, Zdenek Klima, Elfriede Kalcher-Sommersguter, Preben Kristiansen, Raquel Martin-Hernandez, Rudolf Moosbeckhofer, Franco Mutinelli, Magnus Peterson, Victoria Soroker, Grazyna Topolska, Flemming Vejsnæs, Romée van der Zee

On 4th and 5th of February 2014, 18 researchers from 13 countries attended the workshop in Graz, Austria. The workshop was supported by COLOSS, University of Graz, the Dean of the Faculty of Science and the Austrian Research Association. An authorized questionnaire that was drafted before the workshop was finalised during the workshop after necessary extended discussion. The questionnaire will be published on the COLOSS website to make it available to all interested countries. Deadlines and important dates for the 2014 monitoring and submission of data were established. The use of additional databases (meteorological and land use) which could be relevant for better understanding of the past and future loss data collected using the COLOSS questionnaire was explored, with input from specialists from other fields. So far only winter losses have been considered, however in southern countries summer losses appear to be more important. This issue was discussed and a decision was taken to further explore summer losses in specific southern areas ideally using a randomized approach. The general feeling was that the monitoring group currently acts as an European entity which attracts other countries, but which may require to develop a stronger European profile. For COLOSS, it would be a good initiative for similar entities to be developed independently in other continents by honey bee researchers based in those continents. Further exploration of specific requirements and conditions is needed. The issue of compliance with the EU regulations on data protection was discussed for future implementation. A jointly authored publication on winter 2012-2013 colony losses which is in press and soon to appear in the Journal of Apicultural Research was welcomed by the participants of the workshop and would be accompanied by an IBRA press release to publicise this article.