The annual San Mateo County Hive Census assesses how well our colonies survived last year. It documents where each hive’s bees came from, hive location, management techniques used, and how all these factors influence colonies’ success. We hope to see improvement in colony survival over the next few years as we incorporate this information into our collective efforts.

The San Mateo Hive Census starts on April 1 and is open to participants for about a month.  For each hive you managed over the previous year, “Summer Survival” (4/1 to 10/1), “Winter Survival” (10/1 to 4/1), and “Annual Survival” (4/1 to 4/1) are calculated.

2017-18 Hive Census

  • If you have 1-10 hives use the Short Census
  • If you have 11-30 hives use the Long Census
  • If you have 30+ hives, email nickieirvine at

If you have only a few colonies you should be able to complete the survey in 5-10 minutes if you collect the relevant info before taking the census. For each colony you had from 4/1/2016 to 4/1/2017:

  • List the date acquired and when it died (if applicable)
  • Note how you acquired each colony, the style of equipment, where it was kept and its temperament
  • Note when the hive was given away or sold; split, combined, or re-queened
  • Note what pest treatments (if any) were used on each hive

Please include ALL your hives in the survey, whether in San Mateo County or not. If more than one person looks after the hives, only one of you should complete the survey. We encourage all beekeepers who have kept honeybee colonies in the county during the preceding year to participate — please feel free to share this page with other beekeepers in the county!

Please contact Nickie Irvine (nickieirvine at if you have questions, problems, prefer to provide data directly, or if you have difficulty filling out the census.

Hive Data Collection Form

Version 1.0 of our Hive Data Collection Form can be downloaded to assist in remembering needed information for each hive.

Print a copy for each colony you will be documenting. We recommend storing the form in a convenient location: in a plastic bag under the hive lid, on your refrigerator, with your hive inspection notes, etc. Try to make using it a habit!

We welcome your feedback on the form, modifications you’ve made so that it works better for you, etc. Please send comments or suggestions to nickieirvine at


Participants can enter a raffle for two prizes:

  • First Prize:  $75 gift certificate, open to all who fully complete the survey
  • Second Prize: $25 gift certificate, open to all who participate in the survey, even if they don’t fully complete it

Census Format

The annual San Mateo County Hive Census follows the format used by the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP), a national effort to collect information on colony survival that has been used to shape national policy.  As a result, we can compare our data and outcomes to theirs. Once you have filled out the San Mateo Hive Census, you can easily contribute to the BIP colony loss survey. Please participate in both!


No personal information will be included in the data analysis or final report, and Survey Monkey will not retain or use any of your data, including your contact information.

Thanks for participating!

Nickie Irvine,
Coordinator, Annual San Mateo County Hive Census/ Bee Selective
Dana Hendrickson