Beekeepers perception of risks affecting colony loss: a pilot survey.
Understanding amateur beekeepers' perception of risks affecting bee health and mortality is essential to analyse the reasons for adopting or rejecting good management practices. A perception survey on how beekeepers perceive and manage factors related to climate change, Varroa infestation, management practices, and pesticide exposure was designed and launched online. This unpreceded sociological survey involved 355 beekeepers spread all over Belgium. A two-sample t test with unequal variances comparing beekeepers with colony loss rates below or exceeding the acceptable level, that is < 10% and ≥ 10%, indicates that beekeepers (N = 213) with colony loss rates < 10% generally have greater average levels of perceived risks and the benefits of action that lead to increased motivation to act in better ways. The results of this survey highlight the importance of looking beyond socio-economic determinants in any risk mitigation strategy associated with bee mortality when dealing with amateur beekeepers.