Invitation to the Workshop on Instrumental insemination in Krakow, Poland

Mating control is an essential part of any breeding program to ensure genetic progress and thus maintenance of local honey bee populations through utilization.

Instrumental insemination of honey bee queens is a method that allows strict control of paternity but is not widely used in BeeConSel (beeconsel.eu) project’s partner countries.

The Norwegian Beekeeping Association is organizing a workshop on instrumental insemination for queen bee breeders from the partner countries in Krakow from 7 to 9 July 2022. We invite you to apply. Applications are open until the 3rd of June.

If you are selected, the cost of your participation in the workshop will be covered by the BeeConSel consortium.

Apply by sending an email to beeconsel@kis.si with:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Recommendation from a bee association, bee club or other institution

The applicants should:

  • manage at least 25 colonies
  • have access to queens and drones immediately after the course to hone their skills

During the project implementation the selected participants will be expected to:

  • Act as a trainer and pass her/his knowledge to other interested beekeepers.
  • Hone their skills in instrumental insemination after the course within this breeding season.
  • Act as a trainer in arrangement with local partners in Croatia, North Macedonia, Norway, and Slovenia
  • English language proficiency is required

The selection of candidates will be based on candidates’ motivation and CV. The selected candidates will be signing a contract for the execution of the training and the follow-up activities.


INVITATION (en)

VABILO (si)

Visit of expertise partner from Norway to Croatia

In the period of 12.5.-16.5.2022 Bjørn Dahle and Camillia Sundby from the Norwegian Beekeepers Association came to Croatia to visit the “deep forest” and flatland mating stations run by the Centre for applied life sciences Healthy food chain Ltd. for research and development (CALIS). With their experience in controlled mating of queen bees, during the implementation of the BeeConSel project, we aim to improve mating control in all tree beneficiary countries – Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia.

New genomic information that will support the conservation of A. m. carnica

In a recent study The Carniolan Honeybee from Slovenia – A Complete and Annotated Mitochondrial Genome with Comparisons to Closely Related Apis mellifera Subspecies, supported also by the EEA and Norway Grants, researchers sequenced and annotated the mitochondrial genome of a specimen of A. m. carnica from Slovenia and compared the obtained data with a previously published sample of the A. m. carnica from Austria and the closely related Italian honeybee A. m. ligustica.

The results of this study represent a valuable addition to the information available for phylogenomic studies of the honeybee. They may reflect historical dispersal and isolation, as well as conservation and protection measures for the management of this indigenous honeybee subspecies in Slovenia. Additionally, the findings are essential for the local subspecies’ conservation and preservation and form the basis for investigations into the molecular mechanisms underlying important phenotypic traits of A. mellifera— a pollinator species of worldwide importance.

Read it HERE.

Information Day at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food in Skopje

On March 16, 2022, an Information Day was held at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food in Skopje, to introduce the activities of BeeConSel in Macedonia to more than 60 participants. Through five presentations the participants in this event were introduced to the idea, goals and activities of the project, as well as the results of previous research. Dr Janez Prešern, the project coordinator, who was also a guest, referred to the need to implement this international project in Slovenia, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, and Macedonia.

The Macedonian project team presented the activities, results and experiences from the research conducted in Macedonia in 2021. In the end, the attendees had the opportunity to ask questions that enabled further discussion.

Representatives of beekeeping associations were invited to the event, as well as representatives of several institutions and organizations relevant to the selection of honey bees. Unfortunately, due to preventive measures for protection against Covid-19, the number of participants was limited. Thanks to everyone who participated in this event.

Insights of the BeeConsel Target groups

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.

BeeConSel Biannual meeting in Osijek

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!

BeeConSel at the Croatian queen breeder’s association annual meeting

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.

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.

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.