This brand new Core Project has been created with the specific intention to support beekeepers and beekeeping.
Bees have survived quite well in the wild over the last 50 million years, ranging from equatorial to polar regions. They achieved this by finding suitable dispersed nesting sites, exploiting resources effectively, minimizing disturbance to their brood nest, and reproducing via swarming. Selection has been largely based on viability.
In contrast, modern beekeeping typically results in high colony densities, sometimes in unsuitable sites, with frequent nest manipulations often aimed to preventing swarming; susceptible colonies are maintained by use of drugs allowing responsible genes to be maintained in a population. Additionally, forage resources in intensively managed landscapes can expose colonies to pesticides, and beekeepers unilaterally select based on productivity and temper.
There are many challenges for both bee research and training to overcome the discrepancy between evolutionary adaptation and modern beekeeping practice. Practical solutions are needed to:
- Optimize nutrition
- Minimize pathogen transmission
- Develop natural-like nest management
- Develop effective pest infestation controls based on damage thresholds
- Promote biotechnical control as method of preference
- Reduce pesticide exposure
- Select based on vitality first
The Core Projects and Task Forces Colony Monitoring, CSI Pollen, Varroa Control, RNSBB, and APITOX all touch on aspects of these. This Core Project is focused on ensuring that learning & understanding generated reaches the beekeepers and leads to modified practice.
For more information please download the session notes from the 1st project meeting in Murcia, Spain: