The COLOSS Survey for 2020 is now closed (27/06/2020) . We are very grateful to beekeepers who completed the survey. We hope to post some preliminary analysis of the responses here shortly.


The National Apiculture Programme is co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the European Union Under the National Apiculture Programme 2016-2019. A call for National Apiculture Programme 2019-2022 is underway.

The global decline of managed honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera L.) and high winter mortalities are a serious threat ecologically and economically. Winter colony losses in Ireland remain one of the highest in Europe, frequently exceeding 20%, and sometimes greater than 30%. The reasons for these losses are unclear, but factors including operation size, beekeepers’ experience, insufficient control of Varroa, age/quality of queens and forage sources are possible causes. Our project (2016-2019) Bees, Beekeeping Research and Colony Health in collaboration with Teagasc Carlow, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland Galway, Limerick Institute of Technology, Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations and Native Irish Honey Bee Society addresses some of these problems for the National Apiculture Programme, 2016-2019.

Six specific tasks have been identified:

  • Provide technical assistance to beekeepers with special reference to the co-ordinators of beginner courses;
  • Maintain the established apiaries and carry out routine beekeeping management strategies which are essential for the proposed field trials;
  • Assess the efficacy and tolerability of different formic acid dispensers;
  • Assess the effect of colony management on Varroa mite population growth;
  • Carry out an annual survey on winter losses in collaboration with the COLOSS network;
  • Assess the effectiveness and practicality of using bacteriological analysis of honey as a means of detecting the prevalence on AFB in honeybee colonies.

The National Apiculture Programme 2016-2019 was based at the University of Limerick. The research apiaries are based at Teagasc Oakpark, Carlow.