Yes, that happens. 6th sampling period starts today. In Denmark, we try to do the sampling on Fridays. So, this morning in one of the test apiaries we went out to mount the pollen trap. Shit happens. We did forget to unmount the traps. So, two traps where active for more then 10 days. One colony gave 1176 gram of pollen and the neighbor one gave 753 grams of pollen. This showing us that the last sampling period has been very active and productive for the colony. Our experience is that we of cause need flight condition with nice weather. But if we compare. Then colonies that are not in balance, we see little or no pollen collection. Could be a queen less colony. We have areas now where the lack of flowering plants now is so low, that this is a hindrance for further pollen collection.
Notice the difference in the colors of the two colonies.
Never mind, mistake done, let us enjoy the beauty and variety of pollen in bees’ colonies.
Insignia recently got presented in the Latvian Beekeepers Magazine “Biskopis”. The association has 3.200 beekeepers, but even additional copies were distributed with the country. In total there are 4.200 beekeepers having 102.000 colonies. Main flow is oilseed rape, lime tree, clover, heather etc.
Latvia is an important part of the citizen science in year 2. Latvia is our most north situated beekeeping. Very mixed landscape, with lot of forest areas and intense farming. Valters Brusbardis
The main aim of INSIGNIA is the citizen science protocol for honeybee colony as bio-sampler for pesticides. But to reach that goal, loot of activities is going on. How to sample the pollen? In Denmark we have been working with a pollen and propolis group for 2 years already, when we got involved in INSIGNIA. All other countries used the famous front yellow pollen trap. All agreed on this is not the best one, but it works. For us, it was natural to follow our own route. The development of a new pollen trap that we got inspiration on in Switzerland. We did adjust it; we feel we did improve it and we did fit it to the Danish types of hives. We made a version 1, did test it all the summer and found mistakes. It was very exciting to involve the beekeepers in our project, and we talked hours about suggested improvements. We did recruit all our citizens scientist within this pollen group. With the INSIGNIA project we made a version 2. The one presented on the video. A very nice side-effect of the INSIGNIA project. See the result in this video.
In the INSIGNIA project, we do look very closely into the colonies as a natural part of the project. At the last sampling we found Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) in one of the INSIGNIA colonies. DWV is associated to a heavy varroa load. In this case we saw several bees with DWV, indicating that the colony did overwinter with to high mite load. Asking the beekeeper, we recognized that he has been experimenting last year using fewer treatments. As new treatment he used oxalic acid evaporation in December. Normally we regard an oxalic acid tricking as very effective in the time of bloodless colonies. Either the evaporation was not effective or there was a relatively large amount of varroa in the colony end December. Normally we say that having DWV in the colony, it is too late to threat. Anyway, beekeeper decided to make a total brood removal in the colony, to see if it is possibly to make it healthy. Flemming Vejsnæs
INSIGNIA in Denmark are using production colonies. Spring this year has been very special. Early and very intense. Today was a 10 kg day, telling us that several Danish colonies did gain 10 kg of nectar during this one day of flow. This is unusual. We do already now see the first tendency of swarming condition in some colonies. So intense flow also indicate that we will get a swarm year. Next sampling can start in 4 days.
The first sampling window was during the period of 9th to the 12th of May. The point is to kind of choose the good weather forecast day here in the springtime. We did choose Friday but must admit that Saturday would have been the perfect day. We had problems colleting enough pollen, but we did manage. And there are still problems to find surplus of pollen here in the springtime. Seem that it is all used for feed to the brood. We have a nice setup now, after lot of discussion and small changes. On good flight days we have to say that it is crowded at the beeholdtube entrances.
Take a look on the time-lapse video, we did shorten it down to 3 min, but in real life we talk about a sampling time of 30 min. At the end the bees were no so happy, since it was starting to get cloudy and windy. Take a look and get an impression on the work we do at year 1.
Some nice side effects are discovered within the insignia project. Due to the test setup, the entrance is restricted to an entrance of about 1,5 cm on the entrance. This works very nicely. The bees get used to it within few days. But if you are using an open bottom board, with a netting, making it possibly for the bees to interact, then we did see that some bees, that did not hit the entrance right away, did get stuck under the bottom board. If we did close the open bottom board the problem disappears or if we event made it impossibly for the bees to direct interact, the same happen. Continue reading “Problems – just needs to be solved!”
This spring is different from the last years. Seems that spring is coming earlier an earlier. We had a warm early period. This year everting started 2 weeks earlier. Beekeepers were of course concerned. Will the bees become ready? And yes, colonies looked very nice and winter losses seems to be low. The rape fields are ready now. Dandelion all over. And then we got frost during night time. Not good for the apples! Cold wind from the east. Bees stopped flying! But as always, there are some moments every day, where the bees do fly and collect pollen.Continue reading “Pollen – INSIGNIA need pollen!”
Denmark is a heavy farming country. More than 60% of the surface is cultured landscape by farmers. In May the country is more or less yellow. You will see it when flying over the country. This year we have around 160.000 hectare of rape fields. Rape is a very good nectar and pollen flower give the main flow in Denmark. Rape honey is a very light and creamy honey. Danish customers love this honey. On the other side, it is a very intensive crop. From the putting the seed into the soil to the harvest, on average the rape culture is sprayed up to 6 times with pesticides.
Pollen sampling by citizen scientists (CS) is underway in several countries. How to store the pollen until molecular analysis? How to transport the pollen between the CS and the lab? These are important questions addressed by INSIGNIA. Storage and transportation will influence DNA quality and quantity, both important features for reliable botanical identification via metabarcoding. INSIGNIA compared storage in ethanol with freezing. It turns out that storage in ethanol assures good DNA quality quantity, which makes storage and transportation easier. Alice Pinto