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Investigating the role of landscape composition on honey bee colony winter mortality: A long-term analysis.


ABSTRACT: The health of honey bee colonies is, amongst others, affected by the amount, quality and diversity of available melliferous plants. Since landscape is highly diverse throughout Austria regarding the availability of nutritional resources, we used data from annual surveys on honey bee colony losses ranging over six years to analyse a possible relationship with land use. The data set comprises reports from a total of 6,655 beekeepers and 129,428 wintered honey bee colonies. Regions surrounding the beekeeping operations were assigned to one of six clusters according to their composition of land use categories by use of a hierarchical cluster analysis, allowing a rough distinction between urban regions, regions predominated by semi-natural areas and pastures, and mainly agricultural environments. We ran a Generalised Linear Mixed Model and found winter colony mortality significantly affected by operation size, year, and cluster membership, but also by the interaction of year and cluster membership. Honey bee colonies in regions composed predominantly of semi-natural areas, coniferous forests and pastures had the lowest loss probability in four out of six years, and loss probabilities within these regions were significantly lower in five out of six years compared to those within regions composed predominantly of artificial surfaces, broad-leaved and coniferous forest.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6095838 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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