The 4 apiaries in Denmark

In Denmark we have 4 apiaries. We are lucky that we have a pollen collecting group, all using the same bottom board for pollen collection. That make the test setup a bit easier.
Apiary no 1. This is the beekeeper’s association’s apiary. Colonies do belong to the association, but the colonies are run by a private beekeeper. This apiary is just beside one of our very heavy motorways. Industrial area and medium intensive farming. Polluted area.
Apiary no. 2. At a beekeeper’s place. Medium intensive farming area. Relative intense pig production. Moor area, one of the biggest in Denmark, but still with farming. Polluted area.
Apiary no. 3. Is at a beekeeper’s summerhouse. Big forest area. If we would move the colonies just 1 km it would be an organic apiary. No pollution.
Apiary no. 4. Was mentioned in an earlier blog. At an organic beekeeper’s place and therefore expected no pollution.


A Danish Citizen Scientist

Peter Sjøgren is one of the Danish Citizen Scientist. We did approach Peter since we needed 2 apiaries in you could say more polluted areas and 2 in less polluted areas within the INSIGNIA project. Denmark is a small country with intense farming. Peter is always open minded and open to give his share for improving beekeeping. Peter is one of the very few Danish organic beekeepers. Living north of Copenhagen, where we have the very big forest area of Gribskov. He is just on the corner of the area where it is possibly to become approved as organic beekeeper. We regard this area as a low pollution area. Peter is one of our very innovative beekeepers. Always on the move for explore new within beekeeping. Take a look on his personal homepage: 

What are those INSIGNIA’S DOING?

Sometimes it can be difficult to have an overview on what is going on in a project. Follow Sjef van der Steen on this video tour in one of our apiaries explaining in detail what will start during this and next week in the INSIGNIA project.

INSIGNIA field test year 1 (2019). Year 1 field test is performed in Denmark, Austria, England and Greece.

Follow INSIGNIA on our YouTube channel: Search for INSIGNIA BEE

Innovation needed within INSIGNIA

Lot of innovation needed due to the diversity of bee-equipment all over Europe. Like for instance in Denmark, the bottom board has the pollen trap build into the board. Anyway, how to install the behold tubes in those bottom boards. Make an additional frame and close the traditional entrance. So easy? Leave the old entrance open for a day and then close and bees will very easy find the now beehold entrance.

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Introducing INSIGNIA

Introducing INSIGNIA (environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honey bees)

By Norman Carreck and the INSIGNIA Consortium (

In recent years, there has been much global concern about the plight of bees, which are exposed to many threats including habitat loss, pests and diseases, and environmental factors such as the use of agricultural pesticides and veterinary drugs. Concern about “Colony Collapse Disorder” and excessive losses of honey bee colonies has led scientists in many countries to carry out surveys of beekeepers to quantify those losses. This has established that losses of honey bee colonies, especially over winter, are often much higher than beekeepers consider to be acceptable. Establishing the cause of these losses is, however, much more difficult, and scientists agree that there is unlikely to be a single cause that applies in all years and in all areas, and that it is most likely that colony losses are a result of many interacting factors.

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Presenting INSIGNIA in Denmark


Denmark is one of the rather small beekeeping countries. But with more the 60 % of the country covered with agriculture, there are relatively good conditions for beekeeping. Having an annual average of 34 kg of honey pr. colony since 1986. Denmark having close to 140.000 colonies and 6.000 beekeepers. Commercial beekeeping is rather small, around 1 % of the beekeepers. Breeding Buckfast bees is the main breeding type of bees. Rape flowers are the main flow. INSIGNIA will run test apiaries in Denmark in year 1 and 2. INSIGNA was presented in the Danish Beekeepers Magazine (Tidsskrift for Biavl 1/2019)

Introducing INSIGNIA-danish bekeeper magazine

The acronym: INSIGNIA

We have been asked, how did the name INSIGNIA turn up. We had a lot of suggestion and ideas. A lot, but then finally Fani Hatjina turned up with this, you could call formula:

cItizeN Science InvestiGation for pesticIdes in Apicultural Products = INSIGNIA

“An now you ask how did this formula turn up?”

We asked Fani.

Fani telling: “You know that there is this google program called ACRONYM creator or this one
I think I used the first one.
I added in a row the words of our project title (all of them or some of them) and then I played around.
The program generates lots of choices, and you can pick what you think it is more suitable or easy to call or nice in the sound!
I picked INSIGNIA because it creates a music in my ear!
And this is all really!”

INSIGNIA presented in Portugal

As the first country INSIGNIA is presented in the Portuguese beekeeping magazine Revista O Apicultor.

Portugal is one of the important beekeeping countries in Europe having around 600.000 colonies in 30.000 apiaries, run by 11.000 beekeepers. Professional beekeeping is relatively big, running around the half of all the colonies. Portugal was in 2015 the 9th biggest honey producer in EU producing 11.500 tons of honey.

Read the whole article.