A big part of the BeeConSel project is involving our target groups. In this short video Filip (Student at the Faculty of Agrobiotechnical sciences Osijek, HR), Jernej (PhD student at the University of Ljubljana, SI), Magdalena (Student at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food in Skopje, MK) and Laura (PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, UK) share what is it like to participate in the project.
Why mating control of Honey Bees is important and what partners of the BeeConSel project have done so far? Dr Janez Prešern, project coordinator, explains it in a short video.
Between November 8 and 12 partners met in Osijek, Croatia, on the Biannual meeting. This was a hard-awaited opportunity for us to meet in full line-up in person again.
We began our meeting with a discussion of our progress and a review of our next steps. After some serious management talks and communication planning on the 2nd day, our host had a nice surprise for us. We visited the Vučedol culture museum in Vukovar which is the only museum in the world dedicated to just one culture. The 3rd day of our biannual meeting in Osijek was dedicated to a discussion of our progress and future steps with the members of the Advisory Group and Target Group members. We must thank Dr Peter Kozmus, Dr Ralph Büchler, Dr Jakob Wegener, Brane Kozinc, students and other dear guests for their time, valuable suggestions, comments and hints.
Thank you, Centre for applied life sciences Healthy food chain Ltd. for research and development for hosting the meeting, excellent organisation and for making us feel at home in Osijek. And last but not least we must thank the whole team for the good work and good spirits. We definitely are moving forward!
At the invitation of the president of the Croatian Queen breeders Association, Zdenko Crnković, the BeeConSel project was presented at the breeders annual meeting last week.
Assist. prof. Marin Kovačić from Centre for applied life sciences Healthy food chain Ltd. for research and development presented the survey results (WP1) which clearly show the necessity of mating control within any kind of breeding program. The project coordinator Assist prof. Janez Prešern presented the role of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia within the Slovenian Breeding program and possible places where the BeeConSel findings should be integrated into the programs current and future implementations.
Among the addressed, was also the president of the Croatian beekeepers federation, Željko Vrbos, and representatives of the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Agriculture.
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.
Dr Janez Prešern presented BeeConSel in agriculture themed radio show Od setve do žetve (From sowing to harvest), broadcasted on the First Channel of Radio Slovenia.
The interview is available HERE (from 14:00)
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
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).
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.
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.
We invite you to read the first issue of the new bi-monthly Regional Cooperation Magazine, where you can learn more about the 18 projects which are finding shared solutions to certain common issues with the support of the EEA & Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.
Enjoy the reading!
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 (email@example.com) for further information and feedback.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Plate M, Bernstein R, Hoppe A, Bienefeld K. Long-Term Evaluation of Breeding Scheme Alternatives for Endangered Honeybee Subspecies. Insects. 2020; 11(7):404.
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
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.
Pechhacker H. Physiography influences honeybee queen’s choice of mating place (Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann). Apidologie. 1994; 25(2):239–248
If you are a student or a researcher interested in honeybee mating/selection and would like to join our JClub, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to welcome new faces and points of view.
A new approach towards the non-invasive sampling of honey bee queens! Steppingstone for genomic selection, conservation and disease prevention.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
Although the kick-off meeting was a little different than we are used to, it was still a resounding success.