In recent years some beekeepers in Ireland have begun to monitor levels of varroa in their hives and to only treat colonies that are not controlling varroa themselves. Some beekeepers have colonies doing well for multiple years without having to apply chemicals. Little of this is reported or documented in any clear fashion, nor is the mechanism for how the bees are coping in the presence of varroa known. To further develop and support such efforts to have chemical-free beekeeping it is important to know if Irish beekeepers generally regard varroa resistance/tolerance traits as important for beekeeping. It could be very beneficial to bring beekeepers who are already trying to reduce chemical use and breed varroa resistant/tolerant bees together to see if we can cooperate to share knowledge, to acquire additional resources to develop bee improvement in Ireland, and to make such bees available to others. The work towards breeding such bees is difficult and time consuming so a cooperative effort would be a potentially good way forward.
As such we would be grateful if you would consider completing the survey either in hard copy (send by post), or do it online. We will report back the general findings of the survey to all beekeeper groups as the information should be of interest to all beekeepers. All personal information will be protected and kept strictly confidential in accordance with GDPR protocols. The survey below has been adapted from a survey developed and published by researchers In Switzerland with their permission (Guichard et al., 2019, https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2019.1654966).
Thanks and best wishes,
To complete in hardcopy please pull out the survey from the NIHBS Four Seasons magazine, complete legibly and post to me or Stephen Smith, Zoology, Room 323 MRI, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland:
To complete online visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NUIG_Bee_Survey
Please complete by Jan 15th 2021
You can also download the survey via the link and post it via email.