BeeConSel at the RNSBB Conference

Project manager, dr Janez Prešern from the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, presented the latest results of our project at the RNSBB conference last week. Research Network for Sustainable Bee Breeding is a taskforce within COLOSS that unites experienced scientists working in the field of honey bee breeding and conservation, and we were honoured to present our work at the event.

Our project on the evening news of the Croatian RTL television

Dr Marin Kovačić from CALIS had the chance to present his work on the selection of honey bees and the field test in Gorski kotar within our project on the evening news of the Croatian RTL television.


You can see the whole broadcast dedicated to the current situation of bees in Croatia HERE

Highlights from the Workshop and Consortium meeting in North Macedonia

From 15th to 29th of May 2021 the Macedonian team of the BeeConSel project (Company for Applied Research and Permanent Education in Agriculture) in cooperation with the Norwegian project partner (Norwegian Beekeeping Association), successfully conducted the first in-person workshops and consortium meeting in North Macedonia.

The workshop programme covered aspects such as training of students and project members on observation of honey bees’ nuptial flights, demonstration on sampling procedure for molecular analysis, spermatheca evisceration, identification of Drone Congregation Areas (DCA) by use of pheromone traps and drone vehicles, then discussion on the methodology for economic valuation of the proposed methods as well other related topics.

The event is the first stepping stone towards assessing the potential for introducing mating control in the project beneficiary countries (Macedonia, Slovenia and Croatia).

BeeConSel Consortium meeting & Training Workshop in North Macedonia

The BeeConSel team will at last meet in person again! The situation has finally improved, which allows that the Training workshop in North Macedonia will be organised fully in person and the accompanied Consortium meeting will be in a hybrid form.

The event scheduled from 26. till 29. of May will be organised by Company for Applied Research and Permanent Education in Agriculture (CARPEA) and Norwegian Beekeepers Association (NBA).

The workshop participants; partners and representatives of different target groups will have a chance to take part in two interesting field demonstration of the Protocol for observation of mating flights and a study tour with a demonstration of methodology for identification of the potential mating station location.

The whole program is available HERE.

Mating control is the biggest challenge for most of the honey bee breeding programs

At the beginning of April, a serial of online events marked the finalization of the EU initiated EURBEST study entitled “RESTRUCTURING OF THE HONEY BEE CHAIN AND VARROA RESISTANCE BREEDING & SELECTION PROGRAMME” (www.eurbest.eu). The project started in 2018 and now it is recognized as the biggest ever study on honey bees where the main focus was the assessment of the availability of Varroa resistant stock and the impact on European apiculture. The project was executed in 7 European countries where more than 150 beekeepers and breeders had a chance to evaluate more than 20 pre-selected genetic lines and compare them to the locally used commercial stock. The results show that Varroa resistant stock is available and valuable for use even under commercial beekeeping operations, but with regard to the importance of the local adaptation. However, during the interactive online WS and Closing conference, besides the lively discussion and presentation of the main findings, the participants (dominantly beekeepers and breeders from more than 30 countries) through surveys were asked to identify the main challenges for proper implementation of the breeding programs and queen production. In both polls (screenshots), mating control was highlighted as one of the most challenging aspects of the breeding activities, and that also require special attention.

With such outcome and interest in honey bee mating control, it is evident that the main idea behind the BeeConSel project (www.beeconsel.eu) currently is in the central attention. Thus, with support from our project, we have a unique chance to work directly on improving the most challenging breeding aspect in Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia as well as in a broader sense in Europe. It is interesting to point out that our colleagues Dr Uzunov, Dr Andonov and Dr Kovacic, are core experts involved in both complementary projects, BeeConSel and EURBEST.

BeeConSel is looking forward to reach over the consortium boundaries

Proper mating control is the best prerequisite to limit genetic erosion and increase the efficiency of breeding programmes in the selection of desired traits. Breeding organizations all over Europe are cordially invited to speak up and contribute to the survey to determine the state-of-the-art of mating control. Your efforts will be much appreciated, outcomes will be applied to further work and will hopefully have a positive impact on bee breeding.

Do not hesitate to contact dr Marin Kovačić (marin.kovacic@fazos.hr) for further information and feedback.

BeeConSel at the COLOSS SBB e-Workshop 2021

Yesterday we attended the traditional Research Network of Sustainable Bee Breeding spring (RNSBB) workshop, organised by the COLOSS ASSOCIATION.

Dr. Marin Kovačić, from our project partner Centre for Applied Life Science Healthy Food Chain (CALS), participated in the workshop with a presentation of a Survey developed within the WP1 – Assessment of current status. With the desire to achieve project reach outside the consortium borders, Dr Kovačić invited attendees to contact him regarding the possible participation in the Survey.

Italian Honeybee Breeders got the chance to learn about the BeeConSel

On Friday the 5th of March, Dr Janez Prešern attended an online event organised by the National Register of Italian Honey Bee Breeders, CREA-AA – Council for Agricultural Research and Economics. At the event for the Italian bee breeders, dr Prešern presented the  Slovenian National Bee Breeding Program and placement of the BeeConSel project within its frame. The presentation concluded with a lively debate on various details of selection, rearing and mating control in the follow-up discussion.

 

JClub – discussing honeybee mating, selection and other related topics

To discuss honeybee mating, selection and other related topics within the scientific community, the BeeConSel organizes regular Journal Club – JClub meetings with students and researchers from our team and beyond.

By now, we have discussed the following topics:

4.2.2021

Chapman NC, Lim J, Oldroyd BP. Population genetics of commercial and feral honey bees in Western Australia. J Econ Entomol. 2008; 101(2):272-7.

14.1.2021

Plate M, Bernstein R, Hoppe A, Bienefeld K. Long-Term Evaluation of Breeding Scheme Alternatives for Endangered Honeybee Subspecies. Insects. 2020; 11(7):404.

7.1.2021

Tihelka E., Cai C., Pisani D. et al. Mitochondrial genomes illuminate the evolutionary history of the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera). Sci Rep. 2020; 10:14515

24.11.2020

Loper G, Wolf W, Taylor O. Honey Bee Drone Flyways and Congregation Areas: Radar Observations. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. 1992; 65(3):223–230.

17.11.2020

Pechhacker H. Physiography influences honeybee queen’s choice of mating place (Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann). Apidologie. 1994; 25(2):239–248

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If you are a student or a researcher interested in honeybee mating/selection and would like to join our JClub, contact us at beeconsel@kis.si. We are always happy to welcome new faces and points of view.

Non-Destructive Genotyping of Honeybee Queens to Support Selection and Breeding

A new approach towards the non-invasive sampling of honey bee queens! Steppingstone for genomic selection, conservation and disease prevention.

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Researchers from Agricultural Institut of Slovenia, our Lead partner, have investigated the possibility of using two non-destructive sources to obtain genetic information from an individual queen: faeces and exuviae.
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Both sources turned out to be acceptable in terms of quality of DNA and usefulness in genotyping. In practical use, any of the two could be used to shorten generation interval in queen breeding and decrease costs of the selection process.
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The results demonstrate that the extraction of DNA from faeces and exuviae can be introduced into practice. The advantage of these two sources over wingtips is reducing the time window for processing the samples, thus enabling genotyping directly after the queen’s emergence.
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Read the whole article here.
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The research was co-funded by the EEA and Norway Grants within the BeeConSel project. 

The relevance of mating stations for selective breeding of honey bees

We were very honoured to host Dr Ralph Büchler, Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, Bieneninstitut Kirchhain, Germany, on our Kick-off meeting held on 4th of December, 2020.

His lecture The relevance of mating stations for selective breeding of honey bees really highlighted the broader impact of project goals and sparked a lot of interest among the participants, that is why we would like to share the video of his lecture with all of you.

The video is avaliable in English without subtitles and with Slovenian subtitles

The video is published with the consent of Dr Büchler. You shall not download, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise use the content for any other purposes without the prior consent of the BeeConSel team. You can contact us through beeconsel@kis.si

The official start of the BeeConSel project

We officially started the project with a two day online event held on the 3rd and 4th of December, 2020.

The first day was dedicated to planning our project activities on our 1st Steering Committee, which went very smoothly and successfully.

The official presentation for the public and media was held on the second day and was organised by the lead partner, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia. Approximately 60 attendees were first greeted by the director of Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, prof. Andrej Simončič, PhD. The project was then presented by the coordinator of the project, asst. prof. Janez Prešern, PhD. The statement of the project value to the beekeeping was given by Jože Podgoršek, PhD, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food and on behalf of the EEA and Norway Grants Fund, the attendees were greeted by the Lead Consultant MaŁgorzata Nowak.

Jože Podgoršek,
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of Slovenia
 
MaŁgorzata Nowak,
Lead Consultant for EEA and Norway Grants Fund
prof. Andrej Simončič, PhD,
director of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia
asst. prof. Janez Prešern, PhD,
project coordinator

Dr Ralph Büchler, Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, Bieneninstitut Kirchhain, Germany rounded up the event with his lecture “The relevance of mating stations for selective breeding of honey bees”, which has highlighted the broader impact of project goals and sparked a lot of interest among the guests of the event.

Dr Ralph Büchler, Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, Bieneninstitut Kirchhain, Germany

Although the kick-off meeting was a little different than we are used to, it was still a resounding success.