‟The key to resilient beekeeping is to harness the power of nature to restore harmony and balance inside the honey bee colony and between the colony and the environment”
Dirk de Graaf, project coordinator

Pollinator ecology

Can we predict the landscape pollinator carrying capacity and the competition with wild pollinators?

Improvement of B-GOOD dynamic resource model
investigating factors influencing flower phenology
  • photoperiod
  • latitude/altitude
  • precipitation
  • weather conditions
Filling knowledge gaps on pollen choice of pollinator spp.
Data on flowering plants obtained by citizen scientists
Using beekeepers network from INSIGNIA/B-GOOD
Create a simulation-based decision-support model.

Resilience to chemicals

Can ecosystem complexity enhance resilience to chemicals?

Exposure experiment in a gradient of ecosystem complexity
Heterogeneity of insecticide target sites
Heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes + electrophysiology
TaqMan assay
Cage experiments: impact of heat and nutritional stress on insecticide sensitivity

Resilience to climate and heat stress

Can we predict the effects of climate change on beekeeping based on genetics?

Genetic markers associated with heat resistance?

Can we design novel beehive types based on in-hive thermoregulation?

Genome sequencing:
2 parallel north-south transects
  • estimate the genomic offset = degree of maladaption under future climate change scenarios
  • maps of genomic vulnerability
Genetic basis of Critical Temperature max/min
  • CTmax/min assays at 10 partner institutions
  • making hybrids by crossings
  • segregation of opposite alleles
  • genome sequencing
  • seeking for associated single nucleotide variants
Impact of heat stress on reproductive success honey bee/varroa
Thermal interactions empty/inhabited hives
  • numerical model: simulates in-hive climate
  • hive monitoring technologies: experimental data
  • prediction of critical temperatures > alerts send to beekeeper
Field test: wood materials/coatings for hive building

Local adaptation by Darwinian selection

What are the characteristics of a Darwinian colony?

What is the impact of mobility of beekeeping sector?

Genetic characterization of established D-colonies
Follow-up colonies during process D-selection
  • phenotypic data: colony strength, honey yield
  • genome sequencing: candidate genes associated with colony survival
  • hive monitoring technologies: BEEP base
  • accelerometer/electromagnetic shaker: vibrational signature
Testing the genotype-environment interaction theorem

Immune resilience

Can we develop a novel haemocyte typology based on surface determinants?

What is the impact of heat and nutritional stress on the cellular and humoral immune potential of HBs?

Mapping the haemocyte surface determinants by proteomics and transcriptomics
Monoclonals for flow cytometric analyses
Cage experiments

Future of beekeeping under global change pressures

Can the optimization of hive and apiary as well as beekeeping practices mitigate sudden disruptive events, permanent climatic stressors and invasive species?

Which regions in Europe are at risk for the spread of invasive species?

Hive construction: illustrated booklet with practical tools and methods
Risk assessment study will be performed
  • contingency plan
  • PCR for rapid confirmation of Tropilaelaps spp.
Rn-line tool to select IPM strategy
  • + Vespa velutina: citizen science study with traps
  • SHB: 3 on-field trials in EU endemic region
Guide for low-stress beekeepers practices

Better-B has received funding from the European Union, the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government's Horizon Europe funding guarantee (grant number 10068544).

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, European Research Executive Agency (REA), SERI or UKRI. Neither the European Union nor the granting authorities can be held responsible for them.

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