Using Citizen Science to Study Free-Living Colonies

An initiative of COLOSS Survivors Task Force
Thank you for your interest in Honey Bee Watch.

Around the world the health and well-being of honey bees are threatened by multiple stressors. In particular the survival of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is critically endangered by the invasive parasitic mite Varroa destructor. It is assumed that almost all of the world’s colonies are infested with Varroa and will die within two to three years unless chemically treated.

Intending to find a solution to this pessimistic scenario, thousands of studies have investigated the relationship between A. mellifera and V. destructor. Unfortunately, the majority have focused almost exclusively on managed and treated colonies. As such, there exists a huge gap in our understanding of whether — and how — infested A. mellifera colonies can live in the wild or without the aid of treatments. 

Our mission is to better understand the traits enabling survivorship among untreated and/or free-living (also known as “wild” or “feral”) colonies by engaging citizens like you.

With your help we intend to address these issues so that we can develop a proper conservation plan to protect honey bees. As of now, this initiative focuses on the European honey bee, but in the future will include other Apis species too.

Whether you keep untreated colonies or have observed their nests in nature, we would like to know what you are seeing. Participation involves: 
  1. Fill out this survey so that we can learn more about you, your experience, and the bees. 

  2. Submit periodic observations so that we can monitor the bees over time. 

  3. Allow us to conduct more thorough investigations of the bees in the future.

Thank you for taking this first step in joining Honey Bee Watch by filling out the survey. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

We — and the bees — appreciate your participation.

The Honey Bee Watch Team


Project Lead: Steve Rogenstein (The Ambeessadors)
Science Coordinator: Arrigo Moro (Universität Bern)
Survivors TF Coordinator: Raffaele Dall'Olio (BeeSources)
COLOSS President: Peter Neumann (Universität Bern)

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Institute of Bee Health
Vetsuisse Faculty
University of Bern
Schwarzenburgstrasse 161
3003 Bern, Switzerland