Using standard epidemiological methods, this study set out to quantify the risk associated with exposure to easily diagnosed factors on colony mortality and morbidity in three migratory beekeeping operations. Fifty-six percent of all colonies monitored during the 10-month period died. The relative risk (RR) that a colony would die over the short term (∼50 days) was appreciably increased in colonies diagnosed with Idiopathic Brood Disease Syndrome (IBDS), a condition where brood of different ages appear molten on the bottom of cells (RR=3.2), or with a " queen event" (e.g., evidence of queen replacement or failure; RR=3.1). We also found that several risk factors-including the incidence of a poor brood pattern, chalkbood (CB), deformed wing virus (DWV), sacbrood virus (SBV), and exceeding the threshold of 5 Varroa mites per 100 bees-were differentially expressed in different beekeeping operations. Further, we found that a diagnosis of several factors were significantly more or less likely to be associated with a simultaneous diagnosis of another risk factor. These finding support the growing consensus that the causes of colony mortality are multiple and interrelated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology