My name is Dan Reynolds, and I’m a research specialist with the Bee Informed Partnership. We are a non-profit organization that researches colony health and provides diagnostics for beekeepers across the US. We are currently seeking participants for the sixth year of the Sentinel Apiary Program.
Here is a video we put together summing up the program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zH-_AfmhCU&t=2s
This program is beneficial to all beekeeping groups small or large, as well as commercial operations looking to keep a pulse on their home yards or migratory colonies, and we think you would be a great fit. Beekeeping organizations often use the program as a teaching tool for new beekeepers, or have an individual participate on behalf of the group as a benchmark diagnostic tool for colonies in your area.
You can find more information about the Sentinel Apiary Program on the Bee Informed Partnership website, which can be viewed here. Please feel free to ask us about how beekeeping clubs specifically use the program.
The Program consists of six months of sampling (May-October) for either 4 or 8 colonies (8 is recommended, but if you will only have 7 or fewer then 4 is an option).
Participating in the Program means you will:
1. Take monthly samples of ~300 bees from each colony and mail them to our lab to be processed for Varroa and Nosema
2. Perform a routine health inspection of each colony during each sampling (we ask you to record Frames of Bees, Brood Pattern, and Queen Status)
3. Optional: share hive scale data (if you already have one or want to purchase one, we have several supported vendors which can be found here)
What we do for you is:
1. Provide all materials and instructions needed to complete sampling
2. Send you diagnostic reports about your Varroa and Nosema levels within two weeks of receiving your samples
3. Keep all of your data in a safe, anonymous online database so it can be viewed by beekeepers in your region as a “Sentinel” or first line of defense for watching Varroa levels (Varroa map can be seen here, and hive scale map can be seen here)
Past Sentinel participants say the Program helped improve their colony health monitoring, record keeping, and ensured effective Varroa management. It can also be used as a valuable teaching tool to share with new beekeepers, or other beekeepers in your area or beekeeping club. Plus, non-participating beekeepers in your area will benefit from being able to see your Sentinel data shared online as a benchmark for colony health in their region!
Without your considerable efforts, this program would cease to exist. The Bee Informed Partnership thanks you and the bees thank you! If you have participated in the past, and want to participate again, we would love to have you back.
How to Sign Up:
The price for the Program is $275 for 4 colonies or $499 for 8 colonies. If you would like to participate, please visit our website and click the sign-up button. Both credit card or check payments are now accepted.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all. I’d be happy to talk more about the details of the Program!
Faculty Research Specialist
Bee Informed Partnership
University of Maryland
4112 Plant Sciences Building
College Park, MD 20742