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Looking for “the Best Bee”. An experiment about interactions between origin and environment of honey bee strains in Europe

Abstract and Figures

The honey bee Apis mellifera, of which there are currently 28 identified subspecies and numerous ecotypes, have been evolving and adapting to a wide range of environments for hundreds of thousands of years within their native range of Europe, Africa and Asia. Honey bees have been widely dispersed over the past several hundred years and are now also established in the Americas and Australia. Today, the high loss of colonies worldwide is attributed to a combination of factors, including parasitic mites, pathogens, pesticides and malnutrition. The COLOSS network of European scientists asks the questions: Does beekeeper selection for productivity lead to genetic deficiency, and are locally adapted populations being displaced by the movement of various honey bee types to locations beyond their native range? A major research effort explores these questions, looking at numerous types of honey bees that are endemic to specific areas of Europe or have become adapted after several decades of breeding. Beekeepers in the U.S. also consider these questions through interest in locally adapted bees and “survivor” feral bees, although the situation is very different. Our honey bees are not native and were derived from relatively small founder populations, thus we lack the evolutionary diversity of subspecies and ecotypes that exist in Europe. We also lack the strong support of institutions and beekeeper organizations devoted to the selection and maintenance of specific subspecies, as established in many European countries. Feral populations in the U.S., previously considered a mixed source of raw genetic variation, have been devastated by the impact of Varroa mites. Through semen collections from Old World sources, Washington State University has been involved in the importation and distribution of additional honey bee genetic diversity in the U.S. Associated with the importations, cryopreserved germplasm from “pure” Old World subspecies has been deposited in the WSU Germplasm Repository for future breeding and conservation needs.Through such measures, we hope to enhance domestic bee breeding programs by providing additional genetic diversity to improve bee health in the U.S.
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Volume
155
No
. 6
June
2015 Email
info@americanbeejournal.com
Web
www.americanbeejournal.com
Contents
Betty Mencucci, the Pride
of
Rhode Island Beekeeping -651 Editor-Joe
M.
Graham
Advertising Manager-
Marta
Menn
Publishing Depatiment-
Dianne
Behnkl' &
Susan
Nichols
Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline-Part 5---Egglaying, Adult
Survivorship, and Modeling Colony Growth
Randy
Oliver
. . . .
......
. .
Starting a Second Beeyard
Howard
Scott
. . .
T
he
Back of a Beekeeper
William
Blomstedt
...
Betty Mencucci, the Pride
of
Rhode Island Beekeeping
Mary
and
Bill
Weaver
.
...
.
.
..
633
.
..
643
.
..
647
The members
of
the colony -623
.
..
651
Beekeeper David Winter Manages 10,000 Hives in San Die
go
County
Cecil
Hicks
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.......
.
Looking for the Best Bee-
An
Experiment about Interactions Letters to the
Between Origin and Environment
of
Honey Bee Strains in Europe
Introduction
by
Susan
Cobey;
Article
by
COLOSS Bee
Scientists
Editor
...........
605
T
he
Complicated Story of Colony Losses and Pesticides Newsnotes
......
. 607
Kirsten
Traynor
....
You Can (Successfully) Fight the Taxman!
John
Jacob
and
Dewey M. Caron
...
. U.S. Honey Crops
Milwaukee County Zoo Project or What's New in the Zoo
AndyHemken
and Markets
...
...
615
Why I Became the Beekeeper
Chef
Classified
Sean
Patrick
Curry
. . . .
..
. .
.....
..
. .
......
. . .
.....
. Advertising
......
. 705
T
he
Buzz in the Nation's Capital
Joan
Shipps
. . Advertising
T
he
Republic
of
Georgia Beekeeping Revital
ization-
Part
!!-Conclusion
Index .
.....
...
...
710
Bill
Lord
The Classroom Beekeeping Topics-Learning from the Past
Jerry
Hayes
...................
..............
619 Ray
Nabors
.................
................
673
Field Guide to Beekeeping
Jamie
Ellis
...................
...............
623 For the Love
of
Bees and Beekeeping
Honey Basics and Forms
of
Honey
Keith
Delaplane
....................
..........
675
Lawrence
John
Connor
................
.......
629 The Other Side
of
Beekeeping
Honey Bee Biology
Wyatt
A.
Mangum
................
............
637
George
S.
Ayers
...................
..........
699
June
CoHr
Picture
Photographer
Clarke
Sutphin
of
Billings,
Montana
se
nt
this beautiful clo
se
-up
photo
of
honey bees
capping
frl'sh
hone
y
-very
approptiate
for
our
June
issue
for
beekeepers
in
the
northern
half
of
the
country
.
June
20
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June 2015 663
(Originally published in German in “die
Biene – ADIZ – Imkerfreund (http://
www.diebiene.de) in August 2014.)
Introduction by Susan Cobey
The honey bee Apis mellifera, of
which there are currently 28 iden-
tified subspecies and numerous
ecotypes, have been evolving and adap-
ting to a wide range of environments for
hundreds of thousands of years within
their native range of Europe, Africa and
Asia. Honey bees have been widely di-
spersed over the past several hundred
years and are now also established in the
Americas and Australia. Today, the high
loss of colonies worldwide is attributed to
a combination of factors, including pa-
rasitic mites, pathogens, pesticides and
malnutrition.
The COLOSS network of European
scientists asks the questions: Does bee-
keeper selection for productivity lead to
genetic deciency, and are locally adap-
ted populations being displaced by the
movement of various honey bee types
to locations beyond their native range?
A major research effort explores these
questions, looking at numerous types of
honey bees that are endemic to specic
areas of Europe or have become adapted
after several decades of breeding.
Beekeepers in the U.S. also consider
these questions through interest in locally
adapted bees and “survivor” feral bees,
although the situation is very different.
Our honey bees are not native and were
derived from relatively small founder po-
pulations, thus we lack the evolutionary
diversity of subspecies and ecotypes that
exist in Europe. We also lack the strong
support of institutions and beekeeper or-
ganizations devoted to the selection and
maintenance of specic subspecies, as
established in many European countries.
Feral populations in the U.S., previously
considered a mixed source of raw genetic
variation, have been devastated by the
impact of Varroa mites.
Through semen collections from Old
World sources, Washington State Uni-
versity has been involved in the impor-
tation and distribution of additional
honey bee genetic diversity in the U.S.
Associated with the importations, cryo-
preserved germplasm from “pure” Old
World subspecies has been deposited
in the WSU Germplasm Repository for
future breeding and conservation needs.
Through such measures, we hope to en-
hance domestic bee breeding programs
by providing additional genetic diversity
to improve bee health in the U.S.
The international research network CO-
LOSS (Prevention of COlony LOSSes,
www.coloss.org) was founded in 2008 and
received funding from the EU COST pro-
gram until 2012. The network aims to pro-
mote international collaboration on research
about colony losses. Within COLOSS, the
working group “Diversity and Vitality”
(now Research Network for Sustainable Bee
Breeding, www.beebreeding.net) investi-
gated the survival of honey bee colonies in
relation to their genetic origin and their ad-
aptation to environmental factors such as cli-
mate, diseases and beekeeping management.
Europe-wide comparison
To study the complex interactions be-
tween honey bee colonies and their en-
vironment, we conducted a very large
experiment involving colleagues from 11
countries. In this experiment, we compared
16 different strains of honey bees in differ-
ent environments for two and a half years,
with respect to characters such as honey
yield, survivability and susceptibility to
diseases. The experimental apiaries were
distributed across Europe, reaching from
Finland in the North to Sicily and Greece in
the South (gure 1). The different strains in
the experiment consisted of breeding lines
maintained at the institutes involved, local
breeding stock, regional bees that had not
been subjected to breeding efforts or lines
from conservation programs. The strains be-
longed to the ve subspecies Apis mellifera
1 LLH, Bee Institute, Erlenstrasse 9, 35274
Kirchhain, Germany
2 Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimenta-
zione in agricoltura – Unità di ricerca di
apicoltura e bachicoltura (CRA-API), Via
di Saliceto 80, 40128 Bologna, Italy
3 Faculty for Agricultural Science and Food,
bul. Aleksandar Makedonski b.b., 1000
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
4 Research Institute of Horticulture, Apicul-
ture Division, 24-100 Pulawy, Poland
5 Agricultural University of Athens, Labora-
tory of Agricultural Zoology and Entomol-
ogy, 75 Iera Odos St., Athens 11855 Greece
6 The University of Applied Sciences Marko
Marulic in Knin, Croatia
7 Hellenic Institute of Apiculture –Hellenic
Agr. Org. ‘DEMETER’ , Nea Moudania,
Greece
8 Agricultural University of Plovdiv, 12,
Mendeleev Str, Plovdiv 4000, Bulgaria
9 Faculty of Agriculture, University of Za-
greb, Svetosimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb,
Croatia
10 University of Aarhus, DJF, Research Cen-
tre Flakkebjerg, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark
11 INRA, UR 406 Abeilles et Environne-
ment, Laboratoire Biologie et Protection
de l’abeille, Site Agroparc, 84914 Avignon,
France
12 MTT, Agrifood research Finland, 31600
Jokioinen, Finland
13 Apiculture Division, Warmia and Mazury
University, Sloneczna 48, 10-710 Olsztyn,
Poland
American Bee Journal664
Cecelia Costa and Marina Meixner in Croaa
mellifera, A. m. carnica, A. m. ligustica, A.
m. macedonica and A. m. siciliana.
Each strain was present with at least ten
colonies in at least three of the 21 apiaries.
In every apiary, the local strain was com-
pared to at least two “foreign” strains.
Uniform starting conditions
The colonies were uniformly built in the
summer of 2009, either from shook swarms
or from splits, and the experimental queens
were introduced. The experiment started
on October 1, 2009, when all colonies con-
sisted of offspring of the new queens, and
ended on March 31, 2012.
All colonies were evaluated in regular
intervals. Colony development, amount of
brood and all other characters were assessed
according to international recommendations
(Büchler et al., 2013). These were based on
the traditional Apimondia guidelines, but
were expanded to include characters such
as brood hygiene. Thus, they were adapted
to the challenges of selection of vital and
resistant bees. In addition, at several times
bee samples were taken from each colony
and examined for bee diseases.
A colony was considered as lost when it
had either collapsed or the colony strength
was considered insufcient for further sur-
vival. Queenlessness or the presence of a
drone-laying queen was also regarded as
colony loss.
No medication was used during the en-
tire experiment; however, it was possible to
perform a total brood removal for control of
Varroa mites (per apiary). To prevent spill-
over of mites from collapsing colonies, the
Varroa infestation of each colony was moni-
tored continuously, and colonies in danger
of collapsing were treated. At the same time,
they were counted as lost and excluded from
further analyses (the complete test protocol
is described in Costa et al., 2012).
Hybridization reduces gentleness
Although we observed noticeable differ-
ences in behavior and performance between
strains that originated from breeding pro-
grams and strains that had received little
selective effort in the past, no single strain
showed superior performance at all loca-
tions. However, we most noticeably ob-
served that strains showing strong signs of
hybridization in the genetic analysis (Fran-
cis et al., 2014a) scored signicantly lower
in the assessment for gentleness (Uzunov et
al., 2014).
Local strains survive longer
Of the 597 colonies we could analyze, 94
(15.7%) survived until the end of the exper-
iment. We observed drastic differences in
survival time and disease load, both between
locations and between the genetic strains.
At some locations, for instance in Lunz
(Austria) or Schenkenturn (Germany), all
colonies had already collapsed by the sec-
ond winter (2010/2011), while colonies in
Avignon (France) survived longest with an
average of almost two years. Survival time
between the strains also differed noticeably.
Here, we observed a signicant difference
in survival time between local strains and
foreign strains. While in any given location
a colony of a foreign strain survived on av-
Figure 1: Map of Europe showing the 21 test locaons covering 11 countries.
Each locaon is indicated by a black dot, with its name shown in the white
box. The genec lines maintained at each locaon are indicated as leers be-
low each name. The legend at top right corner links the leers to the genec
lines. The abbreviaons mean: CarB = Carnica Bann (Germany), CarC = Carnica
Croaa, CarG = Carnica Kunki (Poland ), CarK = Carnica Kirchhain (Germany),
CarP = Carnica Gasiory (Poland ), CarL = Carnica Lunz (Austria), CarV = Carnica
Veitshöchheim (Germany), LigI = Ligusca Italy, LigF = Ligusca Finland, MacB
= Macedonica Bulgaria, MacG = Macedonica Greece, MacM = Macedonica
Macedonia, MelF = Mellifera France, MelL = Mellifera Læsø (Denmark), MelP
= Mellifera Poland, Sic = Siciliana. The leer in the circle next to each locaon
indicates the respecve local strain. Example: In Kirchhain, the strains D, E,
and N were tested, with CarK (D) being the local strain. In addion, CarP (E)
and MelF (N) were tested. Copyright Internaonal Bee Research Associaon.
Reprinted from Francis et al. (2014) with permission of the editors of Journal of
Apicultural Research.
June 2015 665
erage 470 days, the mean survival time of a
local colony was 553 days. Local bees thus
survived on average 83 days longer than for-
eign ones (Büchler et al., 2014).
Reasons for losses
The most frequent evident reasons for
colony loss were Varroa (38%), problems
with the queen (loss, drone layer, etc., 17%)
and Nosema (8%). All other reasons (star-
vation, robbing, unspecied winter loss,
other diseases, unknown reason) were less
frequent, but together accounted for 37% of
the losses.
Varroa infestation inuenced by location
The infestation with Varroa mites was
signicantly more strongly inuenced by
the apiary location compared to the genetic
origin of the colony (Meixner et al., 2014).
The Varroa infestation rates differed greatly
over the individual apiary locations. In some
places we observed a fast buildup of mite
populations, while in other locations infesta-
tion rates increased much more slowly. The
differences between experimental stations
were often much higher than the differences
between surviving and collapsing colonies
at one single station. In the autumn of 2010,
for instance, we observed extremely high
infestation rates between 30% and 40% at
the experimental locations of Unije (Croa-
tia) and Dimovci (Bulgaria). In spite of
these high infestations, many colonies at
these two locations survived the following
winter. In contrast, mite infestation rates at
stations in Poland and Italy increased more
slowly and remained below 10%, even after
two years without medication. In Kirchhain
(Germany), the autumn 2010 mean infesta-
tion rate of surviving colonies was 9.1%,
while in collapsing colonies it was 24.3%
(Büchler et al., 2014).
The differing length of season and the
resulting differences in colony development
certainly were among the main reasons for
the differences in mite population devel-
opment across the experimental colonies
(Hatjina et al. 2014). Our results indicate
that there is substantial variation of Varroa
damage thresholds across different regions
of Europe. To determine these thresholds,
comprehensive investigations involving
Field workshop pin test in Germany
(l) COLOSS WG4 Workshop | Palermo, Italy | 05 - 09 Nov 2012 (r) COLOSS WG4 Workshop | Forssa, Finland | 23 - 27
Jan 2012
sufciently large numbers of colonies are
needed.
Nosema not among major causes for losses
The gut parasite Nosema was present in
almost all locations, but colony losses as-
cribed to Nosema were low and in the ma-
jority (25 of 37 cases) occurred in a single
location (Le Bine, Italy) at the beginning
of the experiment. The Nosema spore load
across the experimental colonies was over-
all rather low; only at the locations in Po-
land and Italy were higher spore numbers
occasionally observed. In most apiaries we
only observed the “new” Nosema species
Nosema ceranae, while Nosema apis was
restricted to few locations and mostly oc-
curred in mixed infections with N. ceranae.
Pure N. apis infections were sporadically
found only in Finland and Poland. Thus,
our data do not support Nosema ceranae as
a major cause for substantial colony losses
(Meixner et al., 2014).
Viruses
The frequency of virus infections (Acute
Bee Paralysis Virus and Deformed Wing
Virus) was also strongly inuenced by the
apiary location. For instance, in autumn
2010 in samples from Finland, no viruses
at all were found, while both viruses were
present in all analyzed samples from Bul-
garia. Overall, we could not determine an
effect of genetic origin on the frequency of
virus infections. However, an in-depth study
preformed on samples from the Greek loca-
tion (one of the largest, containing 4 geno-
types) showed that local colonies tended to
have lower levels of pathogens. In this case
study the seasonal trends of the viruses were
conrmed (lower levels in spring, higher in
autumn), together with the signicant cor-
relation between varroa and DWV (Francis
et al., 2014 b).
Local bees may have an advantage
Thus, our results clearly demonstrate that
location effects play a predominant role in
the occurrence of bee diseases. Both local
and foreign bees suffered from parasites and
other pathogens. Yet, the mean survival du-
ration of local bee origins was signicantly
longer than that of foreign ones. Possibly,
this ostensible contradiction indicates that
local bees may command more resources
for keeping parasites and pathogens in
check, due to their better adaptation to the
local environment, climate and vegetation,
but also to the locally prevailing manage-
ment methods. In addition, newer research
demonstrated that especially viruses exhibit
substantial genetic variation across regions
that may inuence their virulence (Cornman
et al., 2013). It could be possible that local
bees are better adapted to “their” strains of
viruses and are therefore better able to cope
with them.
The best bee does not exist!
In conclusion, our experiment demon-
strated that “the best bee” showing excellent
performance and superior disease tolerance
across all environments does not exist. In-
stead, the local bees were not only the most
long-lived, but in many cases also received
better scores for gentleness and honey yield.
Therefore, we suggest devoting more
attention to the preservation of the variety
of genetic resources of honey bees across
Europe. One way to achieve this could be
the establishment of conservation areas to
protect endangered populations from uncon-
American Bee Journal666
trolled introgression of imported strains. In
particular, however, we would like to em-
phasize the necessity of regional selection
and breeding efforts. Such efforts would
contribute to an improvement of local bees
and, in consequence, increase their accep-
tance with local beekeepers. Special at-
tention within such programs should be
devoted to traits like disease tolerance and
vitality.
The uncontrolled importation of bee
strains from different areas endangers well-
adapted local bee populations and is often
not even to the advantage of the beekeeper,
as our experimental results show. For the
common beekeeper, our recommendation
would be to purchase queens from local
breeders whose material has been selected
after long-term comparative testing in their
own region.
The results of this experiment have been
published with open access in a series of sci-
entic articles in a Special Issue (May 2014)
of Journal of Apicultural Research (www.
ibrabee.org) and are listed in the refer-
ences. This article provides an overview on
the most signicant results.
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E, Büchler R (2014). Swarming, defen-
sive and hygienic behaviour in honey
bee colonies of different genetic origin
in a pan-European experiment. Journal
of Apicultural Research, 53(2): 248-260.
10.3896/IBRA.1.53.2.06
... Z ostatnich badań akcji COLOSS (2014-2016) wynika, że pszczoły lokalnych populacji np. Apis m. mellifera są najbardziej przystosowane do warunków środowiskowych i lepiej radzą sobie z chorobami, pasożytami oraz innymi patogenami (17,44,54,90). ...
... Średni czas przeżywalności pszczół miejscowych był jednak znacznie dłuższy niż w przypadku pszczół nielokalnych. Lokalne pszczoły mogą dysponować większymi zasobami, aby powstrzymać pasożyty i patogeny dzięki ich lepszemu przystosowaniu do lokalnego środowiska, klimatu i roślinności (54). ...
... pszczół środkowoeuropejskich w całej Europie. Jednym ze sposobów osiągnięcia tego celu może być ustanowienie obszarów chronionych zagrożonych populacji (17,44,54,90). ...
Article
In Poland, as in the whole world, there is a growing risk of extinction of the honeybee, especially the subspecies of the native middle-European bee. The main factors for the disappearance of native bee lines are environmental degradation, diseases and pathogens, as well as the introduction of imported queen bees of other breeds into domestic breeding. In this situation, it is particularly important to protect the genetic resources of native bees, which currently live in small areas covered by protection programs. The aim of this work is to review the possibilities offered by morphological and genetic examinations in the conservation breeding of native honey bee lines. It was found that the implementation of programs for the protection of native middle-European bees should be continued because of the growing risk of losing or diluting the valuable gene pool of native bees. Only the combination of phenotypic analysis and analysis based on DNA markers can effectively contribute to the protection of the native middle-European bee..
... According to the recent COLOSS research, local bees, such as Apis m. mellifera, live longest and they often perform best in terms of quietness and honey yield. Also, local bees are more immune to parasites and other pathogens (12,28,37,62). It has been established that the effect of genotypes on the location plays a predominant role in the occurrence of diseases, such as the deformed wing virus associated with the epidemic of varroosis. ...
... The mean time of survival of sick local bees, such as Apis m. mellifera, is much longer than that of nonlocal bees. Local bees can have larger resources to contain parasites and pathogens owing to better accommodation to local climate and environment (37). Subsequent research confirmed that bee families with local queens (including middle-European bees) live longer -for instance by 83 days -than non-local ones (12). ...
... Accordingly, more attention should be paid to the preservation of diversified genetic resources of honey bees, including of middle-European bees, throughout Europe. The establishment of areas of protection for endangered populations is one of the means of achieving this goal (12,28,37,62). Today, middle-European bees are protected mainly in areas where this species evolved. ...
Article
The population of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, continues to shrink. The middle-European bee, Apis m. mellifera, is particularly at risk in Europe. The drop in the number of middle-European bees is so huge that the insect is under the threat of extinction. Today, they live on small areas covered by the protection of genetic resources. Apis m. mellifera is protected mainly in areas where this species evolved: for instance, in Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland or Russia. This paper presents methods used to preserve and protect Apis m. mellifera in Europe and research on the descent and original extent of the species. It also reviews opportunities created by the implementation of various types of programs for the protection of genetic resources of Apis m. mellifera and ways of employing morphological and genetic studies for the conservative breeding of middle-European bees. The paper demonstrates that the protection of Apis m. mellifera in Europe is necessary, considering the decreasing size, and the threat of hybridization, of this population. The use of the morphometric evaluation and DNA analysis methods have made it possible to track and compare likely directions of propagation of genes in the long history of evolution of bees. Moreover, these methods have given us better insight into the ongoing processes. The current use of these methods for reliable identification of bee breeds helps to protect Apis m. mellifera more effectively. European programs for the protection of genetic resources of bees are based on the following two main paradigms: the breeding of local isolated populations on islands and establishment of protected inland areas for the conservative breeding of contained swarms. All these programs share and are successful in achieving the goal that consists in the preservation of the characteristics of Apis m. mellifera as unchanged as possible, with retention of the maximum genetic diversity of the species.
... К сожалению, лечение пчел от клеща приводит к загрязнению продуктов пчеловодства. Поскольку приобретенная устойчивость пчел к этому паразиту может передаваться по наследству, то для решения проблемы необходимо использовать селекцию [3][4][5]. В 2017 г. на базе Института пчеловодства в г. Кирхгайне (Германия) Европейская комиссия создала международный консорциум по исследованию пчел EurBeST (European Bee Selection Team) (www.eurbest.eu). ...
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Бюхлер Р., Узунов А., Ильясов Р. А., Коста С., Мейкснер М., Ле Конте И., Мондет Ф., Ковачич М., Андонов С., Каррек Н. Л., Димитров Л., Бассо, Б., Биенковска М., Далл’Олио Р., Хатджина Ф., Вирц У. Проект EURBEST: тестирование пчел на устойчивость к клещу варроа // Пчеловодство. ‒ 2022. № 2. ‒ C. 62-64. (Büchler R., Uzunov A., Ilyasov R. A., Costa C., Meixner M., Le Conte Y., Mondet F., Kovacic M., Andonov S., Carreck N. L., Dimitrov L., Basso B., Bienkowska M., Dall’Olio R., Hatjina F., Wirtz U. EURBEST project: testing bees for resistance to the mite Varroa // Russian Journal of Beekeeping "Pchelovodstvo". ‒ 2022. № 2. ‒ P. 62-64.) В 2017 году Европейская комиссия создала международный консорциум по исследованию пчел EurBeST (European Bee Selection Team) на базе Института пчеловодства в Кирхгайне, Германия. В рамках основной части проекта EurBeST было проведено пять крупномасштабных исследований, включающих семь стран Европейского Союза и 130 пчеловодов. Команда EurBeST определила и отобрала 23 линии пчел, принадлежащие к шести подвидам пчел, а также пчел гибридного происхождения. Пчелы были тестированы на общие признаки и признаки устойчивости к клещу Varroa. Тестирование пчел было проведено на двух различных уровнях: [1] сравнительное тестирование исследователями нескольких тестовых линий пчел на одной пасеке, [2] сравнительное тестирование коммерческими пчеловодами нескольких тестовых линий пчел вместе со своими линиями пчел в обычных полевых условиях. Проект EurBeST испытал более 3500 семей в течение одного сезона и считается одним из крупнейших исследований по оценке медоносных пчел на устойчивость к клещу Varroa в Европе. В результате проведенных исследований EurBeST были получены сведения о линиях медоносных пчел, обладающих устойчивостью к клещу Varroa и способные подавлять размножение клещей Varroa в семье. Селекции пчел является важным и единственно возможным инструментом для перехода к экологически чистому пчеловодству без лечения от болезней. Было доказано, что селекция пчел на устойчивость к клещу Varroa работает, но она дорогостоящая. Гигиеническое поведение против клеща Varroa и подавление его развития являются полезным критериями для отбора пчел, устойчивых к клещу Varroa. Однако затраты на тестирование пчел для селекционеров высоки и должны быть компенсированы государством. In 2017, the European Commission set up the international bee research consortium EurBeST (European Bee Selection Team) based at the Institute of Beekeeping in Kirchhain, Germany. Five large-scale surveys involving seven European Union countries and 130 beekeepers have been carried out in the core part of the EurBeST project. The EurBeST team identified and selected 23 honey bee lines belonging to six bee subspecies as well as bees of hybrid origin. They were tested for common traits and traits of resistance to the Varroa mite. Honey bee testing has been performed at two different levels: [1] comparative testing by researchers of several test honey bee lines in a single apiary; and [2] comparative testing by commercial beekeepers of several test honey bee lines together with their honey bee lines under normal field conditions. The EurBeST project has evaluated more than 3500 colonies in a single season and is considered one of the biggest studies in Europe for the evaluation of the resistance of honey bees to the Varroa mite. The results of the EurBeST surveys have shown that Varroa mite-resistant honey bee lines can suppress Varroa mite reproduction in honey bee colonies. Honey bee selection is an important and the only possible tool for the transition to environmentally friendly beekeeping without disease treatment. The selection of bees for resistance to the Varroa mite has been proven to work, but it is expensive. Hygienic behavior of honey bees against the Varroa mite and suppression of its development are useful criteria for selecting Varroa mite-resistant honey bees. However, the cost of testing bees for breeders is high and must be compensated by the government.
... However, the advancement in digital technology has resulted in a rapidly growing number of Citizen Science projects, as this facilitated the communication between the Citizen Scientists and the researchers. Citizen Science is not new within COLOSS group either, as several studies did anticipate on beekeepers' help and contribution (see GEI experiment, CSI Pollen), the size of which and the results were astonishing (Brodschneider et al., 2019;Meixner et al., 2015). Druschke and Carrie (2012), name the Citizen Scientists 'ambassadors for science' as they interact directly with other members of society conveying knowledge and experience, especially because they do go beyond the simple data collection. ...
... The necessity Variability of morphological characteristics of middle-European bees of the 'Northern M' line of preserving native bees as a general environmental requirement that should be met by establishment of sanctuaries, i.e. areas taking account of the reproductive biology of bees, was realized as early as in the 1960s and 1970s (21). Recent COLOSS action studies (2014)(2015)(2016) suggest that bees from local populations, such as Apis m. mellifera, are the most adapted to environmental conditions and are better at fighting diseases, parasites and other pathogens, and one of the ways to achieve this, could be to establishing of protected areas of endangered populations (8,25,32,53). Today, implementation of updated programs for the protection of genetic resources of middle-European bees (four lines: 'Augustów M', 'Kampinos M', 'Northern M' and 'Asta M') is monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development acting through the Animal Husbandry Institute of the State Research Institute and through the National Center for Animal Breeding. The Olecko Apiary owned by the KRIR Breeding Apiary Ltd. based in Parzniew (former Animal Breeding and Insemination Institute Ltd. in Bydgoszcz) has been one of the direct contractors for such programs since January 1, 2014. ...
Article
The aim of the study was to evaluate the variability of morphological characteristics of native middle-European bees (Apis m. mellifera) of the ‘Northern M’ line. The research covered characteristics of breed (the length of proboscis, the cubital index), body size (the width of tergite 4 and the sum of widths of tergites 3 and 4) and wing size (length and width). The study compared bees harvested from a leading apiary and from collaborating apiaries participating in a program for the protection of genetic resources of bees of this line. The material for the study was harvested in 10 consecutive years. The samples were collected by the “cluster drawing” method (the multi-stage method of clustering described by Zee et al. in 2013). Each sample consisted of 25 to 30 bees. The frames were loaded in an instrument for the morphological measurement of bees (Apimeter). Seven measurements were taken on prepared body parts of each bee. The length and width of the wing and the length of the cubital vein were measured on the right front wing (hereinafter referred to as the “wing”). In addition, the width of abdominal tergites 3 and 4 and the length of proboscis were measured in each instance. In total, 4 291 bees were harvested and 30 037 measurements were taken. The conclusion is that the program for the protection of genetic resources of bees of the ‘Northern M’ line can be implemented in Poland based on the leading apiary and on the collaborating apiaries, and bees of this line display characteristics of middle-European bees. Moreover, the study demonstrated a consistency of values of the studied characteristics of the ‘Northern M’ line with the applicable references of morphological characteristics for Apis m. mellifera. In addition, based on a review of results of the author’s research and based on collected literature originating from the 1960s, the study proves that a dwarfing trend has emerged among middle-European bees.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the diversification of morphological features of the Dark European honey bee of the Augustow M line. The authors studied the proboscis length and cubital index, as features determining the affiliation to the species; the width of tergite 4 and the sum of widths of tergites 3 + 4, as indicators of the bee body size; and the length and width of the right forewing. They compared bees sampled from (1) the “lead apiary”, (2) “associate apiaries” and (3) “conservation area apiaries”—apiaries situated in the conservation area established by the national program for the conservation of genetic resources of this bee line. The conclusion was that it is possible to protect bees of the Augustow M line under the existing program, based on resources available to the lead, associate and conservation area apiaries. The bees studied have the essential features of the Dark European honey bee and the values of parameters tested are consistent with the morphological feature references valid for Apis m. mellifera. On the other hand, based on the authors’ research and on other studies described in literature of 1960s, there is a dwarfing trend in the Dark European honey bee of the Augustow M line.
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