Insignia tool boxes 2020 ready for Latvian beekeepers/citizen scientists

During the last week all nine Latvian citizen scientists (CS) received Insignia tool box. They will be ready to start work for Insignia in mid of April.
Insignia tool box in Latvia is fully prepared for a whole season, except lacking ApiStrips which will be added during the sampling season by national coordinator (NatCo). Each tool box contains materials for two colonies.

Insignia tool boxes for nine Latvian citizen scientists ready for delivery

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81 beekeepers -Citizen Scientists around Europe ready to start the INSIGNIA study Year 2!

INSIGNIA study Year 2

First results analysis of Year 1, allowed a decision taken by the whole consortium about the best matrixes to be ring tested during Year 2 in 9 European countries and 9 apiaries per country. Therefore for Year 2, two (2) colonies will be used per apiary, and apistrips together with pollen from pollen traps will be sampled biweekly, from April to September 2020. The countries participating in Year 2 are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and UK.

The map of the locatons were the participating apiaries are is right here!

The map of Europe with all locations of the experimental colonies, for INSIGNIA Year 2 study

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Arctic beekeeper taking part in INSIGNIA

At the Nordic Baltic Bee Research meeting in February in Oslo, I did meet Sissel Goodgame. A Norwegian female beekeeper showing the most wonderful pictures of her new home in the artic close to some of the northernmost part of Norway. Close to 1.800 km north of the capital Oslo in Norway. Same distance as from Copenhagen to Rome. Showing the extend of Norway to the north. Very close to the Russian border. Nature is wild, clean, unpolluted, rough, and amazing. From the 17th of May there is 24 hours daylight. Everything is close to nature. Sissel and her husband moved from Bergen to the new place. Since there is no varroa in the northern part of Norway, Sissel had to buy new colonies and transport them on a trailer over 1700 km. Long distance transport!

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Instruction videos ready

Two instruction videos are now on the road in English version. Sorry the Danish accent, but this is how it is. The Danish translation is ready and the Austrian one will be added very soon. The other countries will translate as soon as possible. So now we just need April to turn up and get started.

It was quiet a big challenge to shoot the instruction videos in Denmark in the beginning of march. Lucky, we had no snow, so we could pretend is was summer. But even this was very difficult, because we had the worst windy weather condition since long, with heavy storms and rain. Rain and rain and rain. And yes, cold as well. Bees did not like it for sure. But we had to do it!
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Tool boxes 2020

The study start for INSIGNIA 2020 is one month away, but we already shipped the tool boxes to the nine Austrian citizen scientists. The tool boxes include the majority of the materials needed for the INSIGNIA 2020 study. The materials are sufficient for 2 bee hives, 1 installation round (=study start) and 10 sampling rounds. The pictures below show the content.

Packed tool box for one citizen scientist.

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INSIGNIA sampling scheme

Accompanying the scheme for the study set up, we also worked on an illustration for the detailed sampling scheme.  The scheme will also be translated and send to the citizen scientists. Within the scheme, one sampling period of each sampling method is illustrated and the crucial steps are shown. Additionally, the phenology list with 30 plants identified to be very important bee plants across Europe and the sampling dates are shown.

INSIGNIA sample scheme for 2020.


Kristina Gratzer

The APIStrip has a new packaging

Within year one of INSIGNIA, the ApiStrips were proven to be an excellent pesticide-sampling matrix. Therefore they will also be used in year two of the study.

As there is always room for improvement, the pesticides experts from the University of Almeria developed a new packaging for the strips. From now on, the strips will be wrapped in aluminum foil prior to pack them in a special plastic envelope. The citizen scientist has to remove the yellow strip  and close the envelope like a letter-the envelope is tightly sealed. With this way, the contamination risk decreases and analyses will be improved. Furthermore, the strips are thinner than last year.

The ApiStrip will be wrapped in aluminum foil and afterwards be placed in the plastic envelope. The citizen scientist needs do remove the yellow strip and close the envelope, similar to a letter.


ApiStrips ready to be send.

Kristina Gratzer and Maria Murcia Morales

INSIGNIA study design for 2020

To facilitate the understanding of our study design, we created an illustration describing the crucial points of the INSIGNIA 2020 study. The scheme will be translated into a total of 7 other languages and will be send to the participating citizen scientists.

INSIGNIA 2020 study design


Kristina Gratzer