“Today (Friday) we received the last batch of pollen samples collected by citizen scientists from all over Europe in the first half of the season. Now, time to go to the lab and do the DNA extractions!”

Alice Pinto

Varroa – the never-ending story

Why talk about a parasite? Because only bee colonies in balance are good bioindicators.
All the INSIGNIA colonies are taken care of by our Citizens Scientist. They run the colonies as they use to. The aim is to supply a pollination service og create a honey production. The, probably, biggest treat against the honeybee colonies is the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. The mite is from 1-1,5 mm. Rather small. Varroa is living on the honeybees and does multiply in the sealed brood of the honeybees. It only bread on honeybees.

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Insignia is more than strips and pollen. Our colonies do also produce the most delicious honey. In Denmark, this year’s honey harvest seems until now to become good. The INSIGNIA 1 colonies gave a harvest of spring honey of around 20 kg each. The honey was harvested around the 12th of June. That is in the blooming time of the oilseed rape. Give a very creamy and tasteful honey. Other exciting flowers are expected to be in as well. The fruit trees this year looks very nice and productive a well. Dandelion was flowering very intense and hawthorn is very smelly and dominating at the end of the spring flow. Anyway, love this honey. And now we made a special edition for our colleagues around europe. By the way, the metabar coding of the pollen sampling will confirm above later in the season.

Some of the team from the University of Almaria presenting creamed honey from Denmark.


The difference is in the details

In the former blogs you can read and understand the importance of the APIStrips in the INSIGNIA project. A strip that does collect the pesticides in the hives brought home by the foraging bees. One of the exciting success of the INSIGNIA project last year. We did test a lot of strips in the 4 countries last year.
New strips were produced this year and you could say with small improvement, but very important improvements. Improvements that make the strip easy to handle for the beekeeper.
The first strips last year were bended, rounded. Difficult to explain, but you could say the strip did fill up the whole bee space. Was a bit difficult to get down between the bee frames. This year they are perfect in shape. Straight, flat. Just easy, easier to insert in the colony.
And another feature is that in the new strips, the Tenax does not cover all the strip. So that you as user can touch the strip and in this way, it is again more easy and more safe to handle the strip. No contamination.
Small things, but the success is in the small details. This year strip is better and easier and safer to handle. Well done.
Flemming Vejsnæs

First APIStrips now inserted in Denmark

Got nice pictures from our Citizen Scientist from the Northern part of Denmark on inserting APIStrips yesterday. Even Denmark is a small country, we see differences between different parts of Denmark in the development of bee colonies. The same for the starting of flowering of the important pollen and nectar sources. The colonies are on the special Danish frame size we call 12×10 inches. Is a relative high frame type. Good for storage of winter food and does give a good overwintering. The size of the sampling colonies is one box, or you could say 9 and 8 frames of bees. These colonies have a nice size this time of the year and will soon explode along with the springtime here in Denmark. Weather is changing a loot this day, meaning this morning we had to scrape ice from our car windows. Denmark is started.

New ways to meet!

The worldwide situation is in all aspect difficult and problematic at the moment. We wish the best for everybody out there to stay safe and take care. INSIGNIA keeps going and that does challenges us in some ways. We have started to meet in different way. At the moment we do test different types of online tools to meet.
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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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T-shirt born on the backseat!

Born on the backseat!

After an exciting and successful annual meeting in Almeria a small group went to Granada to have a look on this very beautiful and historical city. Especially the historic Alhambra is very recommendable. We continued to evaluate our meeting. And suddenly one said: “We should make a citizen’s science t-shirt”. “Yeah, we want a t-shirt”. A t-shirt to show we are a team and a t-shirt to promote INSIGNIA and even maybe a t-shirt for our citizens science apiculturist.

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