About the project
VarroaAlert (Varroa-Warndienst) is a freely accessible web-based platform launched in in 2017 by the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture (LKO) in collaboration with the Austrian Beekeeping Federation (BÖ) and the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES). It collects and analyses data on the infestation of honeybee colonies with the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Infestation data is provided by beekeepers enrolled in a sentinel apiary program (currently 73 apiaries with 664 beehives distributed across Austria). A predictive algorithm performs risk assessments and triggers alerts if mite loads exceed predefined thresholds. Moreover, the system issues region specific, weather-based recommendations for an efficient application of veterinary drugs. The website, which is expected to reduce colony losses caused by Varroosis, has become an important source of information for >29.000 beekeepers, counting >90.000 visits per year. In 2018, an innovative technology for automated Varroa diagnosis has been integrated in the program.