Colony Health Monitoring

What is the Colony Health Monitoring Program?

The Colony Health Monitoring (CHM) program is one of the main tech transfer programs. The CHM program is a disease diagnostic service with the goal to provide the beekeeper real-time colony inspection data and a disease evaluation of their apiary. Beekeepers can then use the data we provide to evaluate their IPM plan and decide if it needs to be adjusted.

How it works

Beekeepers can select up to 3 apiaries in their operations to be part of the CHM program. Apiary sampling occurs twice a year (early spring and late summer) and two types of samples are collected from 10 colonies at each apiary (live bee sample and alcohol wash). Live bee samples (viruses, Nosema, AFB, EFB) from all 10 colonies in each apiary are combined/pooled into one sample per apiary and are sent to the National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) for analysis. Alcohol wash samples for mite infestation level are not pooled. These individual colony samples are analyzed for mite levels locally for fast data result. Test results for Varroa, Nosema, AFB and EFB should be expected within 1 ½ weeks from time of sampling. Results for viruses may take an additional 2 weeks.

Shortly after the TTP team visits your apiaries, you will receive a field report with our colony inspection data. Once we receive the first set of disease diagnostics results from the lab, you will receive a preliminary CHM report containing the Varroa, Nosema, AFB, and EFB results. The final report will follow approximately 2 weeks later with the virus results added. Along with your results we will

 provide guidance on best management practices based on your colony health report, our understanding of your IPM, and the v

isual colony inspections. Our job is not to interfere or police beekeeper’s management strategies but to provide guidance.

All sampling visits are scheduled with the beekeeper in advance and beekeepers are always welcomed (and encouraged) to join us in the field, give us a call, or email with questions!

 

Want to sample your colonies yourself?

No problem. We also offer a self-sampling option, at a discounted rate. Beekeepers participating in the self-sampling program will receive all sampling supplies, instructions and mailing labels in advance.

Please note this service is space-limited and the number of yards per beekeeper is currently capped at 3. However, we will may be able to increase the number of yards assessed per beekeeper, depending on the total number registered for this service. If you would like additional yards to be added to our waitlist, please let us know.

Why Should I Participate?

 Continuous colony monitoring and the implementation of best management practices has been shown to improve bee health, pollination, honey production, and to reduce annual bee losses, use of antibiotics, and overall operating costs for beekeepers. The purpose of this program is to provide temporal monitoring and evaluation of pests and pathogens in the honey bee hive. An effective Integrated Hive Management program includes continuous evaluation and planning steps so that adjustments can be made as necessary to ensure the success of the beekeeping operation. As part of this program, we will also collect colony management data from you, as a way to provide to you an evaluation of your pest management practices and pest/pathogen levels. The goal of the colony management data collection is also to investigate possible association between your management practice and your pathogen levels.

Colony health monitoring makes a difference! Beekeepers in the U.S participating in a similar disease monitoring program reported an average winter loss of 10% lower than beekeepers that do not use the TTP services.

Want to see previous CHM annual reports? Click here.

Questions? Email ttp@albertabeekeepers.ca

REGISTER HERE!


“Busy Bee Farm Ltd. appreciates the services of the TTP team through the 2021 season. The information collected complements our in-field observations and aids us in our decision making on how to manage our hives through the year and prepare them for winter. Special thanks to Renata and Emily and we look forward to working with the team in the next oncoming years.”
– Busy Bee Farm

“In using the expertise of The Tech Transfer Program, we confidently incorporate pest-management strategies to optimize our hive’s survival.”
– Scandia Honey Company

“The Tech Transfer program has proven to be an invaluable resource for our operation. Renata and her team are always very helpful in providing updated information and treatment recommendations for all bee diseases. The classroom session is interactive and always informative for our hispanic workers.”
– Wolfe Honey Company