APHIS National Honey Bee Survey

Beekeeper holding a clipboardWelcome Honey Bee Fans!

The National Honey Bee Survey (NHBS) is a comprehensive examination of colony health throughout apiaries in the United States. The NHBS, run in conjunction with the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) and the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), with support from the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA), began in 2009 to address the emerging concern about the diminishing health of honey bee colonies.

The survey takes an epidemiological approach to document honey bee diseases, pests, and pathogens. The survey monitors for the emergence of invasive threats to US honey bee colony health. These possible dangers include Tropilaelaps clareae, Apis cerana, and Slow Bee Paralysis Virus. The NHBS additionally tracks markers of hive health through inspections for pests and infections. We are able to test colony pesticide residue to assess both the variety and quantity of pesticides present in honey bee hives.

Data collected from the NHBS has helped us understand geographical variations in viral, pest and pesticide loads. For that reason, it has become the baseline for honey bee disease levels in the US, valuable to beekeepers and researchers alike. All NHBS data is available to the public on the BIP Online Research Portal, summarized by state.

The NHBS is led and managed by the vanEngelsdorp Honey Bee Diagnostic Lab at University of Maryland, College Park. Samples are analyzed for molecular targets (viruses and Nosema) at the USDA ARS Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD, and samples are analyzed for pesticides residues at the USDA AMS National Science Lab in Gastonia, NC.