Climate & Land use

One focus of work was on the topic of land use and winter losses. The background of the question was the different winter loss rates of bee colonies in different areas of Austria. The question to be clarified was "Is there a connection between winter losses of bee colonies and the type of land use?"




The data collected in this part of the project formed the basis for the investigations of the module "Epidemiological studies on winter mortality". Complex model calculations were used to show that winter mortality shows a certain correlation with the prevailing climatic conditions, e.g. that the mean maximum temperature in September correlates with increased loss rates in the following winter.

However, the results do not offer the possibility of predicting expected winter losses on the basis of short-term climate observations. Land use clusters created by hierarchical cluster analysis (whereby clusters of different land uses were formed) were related to the winter losses in these clusters: The results suggest that bee colonies kept in near-natural environments (forests, mountains) suffer lower winter losses. However, the results show a wide range of variation between the different years, so that a general relationship between cluster membership and winter mortality over all years cannot be derived from the results.