Sample pick-up and delivery in Austria

We try to maintain cool chain of samples collected by citizen scientists – which means we do visit citizen scientists’ locations with a cool bag. The first big tour 2020 brought me to three participating beekeepers. Always a good option to see apiaries in the city or in the woods. Johann on the other hand benefitted of the nice weather and brought his samples 60 km by motorbike to the university in Graz!

INSIGNIA project meeting in Almeria

More than 20 INSIGNIA researchers from ten countries recently held a successful meeting at the University of Almeria, Spain to discuss the progress of the Insignia project. Full discussions took place on the results, experiences and lessons learned from 2019 when sampling took place in Austria, Denmark, Greece and the UK. The citizen science programme for 2020 has now been planned, and will be expanded to nine countries, introducing sampling in Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy and Latvia. An opportunity was taken to visit the EU Reference Laboratory for pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables at the University of Almeria, where many of the analyses for INSIGNIA are taking place. Our grateful thanks go to Amadeo Fernandez-Alba and his team for the excellent organisation and hospitality during our stay in Spain.

Counting bees…thanks to Beecounters!

written by Marco Pietropaoli, Giovanni Formato, INSIGNIA Consortium

For the INSIGNIA project (“Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honey bees” PP-1-1-2018) ( our laboratory in parallel with other project partners from Denmark (Danish Beekeepers Association), Netherlands (Stichting Wageningen Research) and Latvia (Latvian Beekeepers Association) is carrying out a small field trial to check the relation between colony size and forage activity in order to calculate the exposome.

How to count honey bees flying out of the hive? Thanks to Beecounters!

They are light plastic boxes with a micro-processor powered with a 12V current (Figure 1). Just put them at the hive entrance, power on and that’s it!

Figure 1. Beecounter positioned at the hive entrance

Continue reading “Counting bees…thanks to Beecounters!”

A look from inside

The inside view from colony 3 (see here for construction) explains why bees learn to get out through the exit tubes, but enter through the inside tubes!

This is how the tube construction in colony 3 looks like from inside. We removed two combs for this picture. Photo: Kristina Gratzer.