Note 7. Guideline for apicultural citizen science to apply the honey bee colony for biomonitoring of the environment

The INSIGNIA consortium is happy to announce the publication of the “Guideline for apicultural citizen science to apply the honey bee colony for bio-monitoring of the environment”.
The primary objective of the INSIGNIA study was to develop and test the guideline for bio-monitoring the environment with honeybee colonies in a citizen science setting with beekeepers. This guideline is published on the INSIGNIA website and the EU Pollinator Information Hive website.

The guideline is a handbook with a “rationale” chapter about the possibilities and limitations of the honey bee colony as a bio-monitoring tool, a “study set-up” chapter with comprehensive descriptions of, what we found to be the best practice for this beekeeper citizen scientist studies. The pitfalls and potential “murphy’s law” events are addressed. The chapter “protocols” has a protocol for pesticides and pollen. These protocols are illustrated with icon drawings for their practicality. They have a strict format so that protocols for other subjects like for example microplastics of heavy metals, can be studied in a protocolled way. Finally, the chapter “methods” shows comprehensive descriptions of the 1) pesticide residue analyses, 2) pollen ITS metabarcoding, 3) statistic models for database analyses and 4) background of the temporal land spatial modelling of pesticide exposure risk and pollen diversity availability.
Wherever in the guideline, it is relevant, flow charts are presented to picture
responsibilities, data flows, and other processes. The bio-monitoring process is depicted in drawings with explanatory text in the guideline.

The leaflet and poster of the guideline are on the websites of INSIGNIA and the EU Pollinator Information Hive.