INSIGNIA at the ICPPR congress in Bern 23, 24, 25 October 2019

Every 2 years the Bee Protection group of the International Commission for Plant-Pollinator Relationships (ICPPR) organises a congress about the hazard of pesticides to bees. Bee researchers from academia, contract labs, industry, governmental institutions, EFSA, organisations involved in bee protection and conservation and student meet there to present and discuss new developments and draft methods and outcomes in assessing the hazard of pesticides to bees both for first to higher tier studies, current hazard assessments are evaluated and new guidelines are presented. This Bee Protection group is both stakeholders of the Insignia pilot study and a target international body to present Insignia. There was a lot of interest in our study, particularly for the non-biological passive samplers. It took some effort to explain the role of the honeybee colony in this study, being not the major subject but the data collecting tool. Contact is made with similar monitoring studies, working groups and EFSA for cooperation and data exchange. Both cooperation and data exchanges are subject currently discussed with the EC-DG SANTE and the consortium. It has shown the need for data of pesticide residues in the environment and the role of the honeybee-colony-tool fulfill in this hot topic.

Sjef van der Steen
coordinator Insignia


In love with Science!

Sunday morning spent in the lab preparing the last Greek INSIGNIA samples!

Do we really work for the sake of SCIENCE? Are we science-holics? It is really  important to have an answer to pacify my mind! All Sunday morning spent in the lab preparing the samples, in order to have them ready for shipping Monday morning to analytical laboratories. And this is not the only thing, crazy scientists do! We also travel very far (900 km in one day) during the weekend, because there is no other time available, to meet the Citizen Scientists and collect the samples in dry ice (!), transferring the samples next day to the lab (Sunday of course)! And, hello !, the next morning (Monday of course) the financial officer tells you that you are not eligible for reimbursement of your travel expenses because it was a WEEKEND! If I’m not in love with science, what then???

But the story has another dimension! The citizen scientist’s products! The samples! I want to remember only the ones really making a great effort to collect as many samples as possible, write the correct information on the labels, pack them properly and all together in one bag per DATE of COLLECTION! Like in the pictures attached! With such a perfect collaboration, yes, I can spent my weekends travelling and in the lab! Thank you NA, GS and PA for all the good work!

Hope to work with you next year as well! Now lets wait to see the analysis results to understand what is happening out there!

Fani Hatjina,
National Coordinator for Greece

Remote monitoring for pesticides effects?

Monitoring for pesticides through different matrixes in a honey bee colony is a sensible way to see what kind and quantities of pesticides are used in the field and eventually end up in the honey bee colony.

From the other side, monitoring the development of the colony and the bees behaviour is a way also to see the effects of the pesticides. Remote monitoring and precision apiculture is very much in ‘fashion’ these days. Temperature, humidity and colony weight are the most common features in a remote censoring, vibrations and sounds are getting in to the game as well, more and more.

Here is a remote monitoring system for temperature, humidity and sounds, could they tell us something about bees’ reaction to the pesticides entering the colony?

Still to be determined!

Fani Hatjina

Insignia announced in Belgium

Belgium is one of the countries in which nine apiaries will be selected for the 2020 trials. The Flemish beekeepers were informed about the Insignia project in October 2019. Beekeeping in Flanders is much more developed than the front page of the magazine suggests. It is a giant step from making straw skeps to applying honeybee colonies as a monitoring tool for pesticides. An application of the honeybee, completely non-existing when the straw skeps were developed some centuries ago. The big difference between beekeeping with the skep and the Insignia study is that bees in the skep were killed to harvest the honey and that the Insignia project aims to result in a  non-invasive (= no bees sampled and killed) citizen scientist sampling protocol; a progress in bee- welfare and bee research.

Time to clean up!

Denmark. Actually, we already did 2 weeks ago. We did sample in 4 apiaries this season. It became 10 samplings. Between the lines some had 11 sampling, and even more between the line in one Danish apiary we continue to sample 13 times, just to have that number in our records. It has been very exciting to belong to one of the 4 pilot countries in this project. Samples were taken every 2th week very regular during the season. In total this gave 604 samples of pollen, beeholdtubes, apistrips, beebread and a single time honey sample as well.

Continue reading “Time to clean up!”

Science with communication

How easy can science be on your own, no protests, no objections, bright ideas and always being right? However that’s not science, that is vanity.

Science can only blossom and flourish in cooperation and respectful communication with each other. That is why the GoTo Telemeetings occupy a prominent place in the Insignia consortium. The course of the pilot study, new ideas, results clarification and evaluations and any issue of whatever importance are discussed in these meetings. First in small groups of specialists in the consortium to be broadened up with more subjects-involved participants in the course of the subject.
Continue reading “Science with communication”

INSIGNIA at the world beekeeping congress

Norman Carreck presented the INSIGNIA project in front of the world’s beekeepers and scientists at the Apimondia congress running in Montreal in September. The aim of Apimondia is to connect science and beekeepers all over the world. More than 5.000 participants took part in the 5 days congress. Several parallel sessions on exciting beekeeping issues are discussed. More than 500 posters were presented. A huge exhibition on beekeeping material attracted lot of beekeepers. And the beekeeping world award, showed how competitive beekeepers are to produce the very best products on honey, mead, wax, inventions, books etc. Technical tours and visits are taking place as well. This is the right place to disseminate the INSIGNIA project, discuss and getting response.
* Flemming Vejsnæs

INSIGNIA: Applied science with impact

The INSIGNIA study aims to be applied science with impact. The prerequisite of impact is sharing knowledge with stakeholders. The INSIGNIA stakeholders are on one hand the European beekeepers and on the other hand the beekeepers’ organizations and the lobby/pressure groups on bees-bees welfare-pesticide-environmental-interaction-pollination-conservation. The latter stakeholders are informed by regular notes about the achievements and progress we are making in the INSIGNIA pilot study. The beekeepers will be informed via the European beekeepers’ magazines.

Today the first note to the beekeepers’ organizations and lobby/pressure groups have been sent. The notes to the beekeepers magazines will follow soon.

Sjef van der Steen