News 2013
News 2012
Apimondia congress in Buenos Aires

With October comes the end of the summer bee season in most areas of Europe, and beekeepers and researchers alike are putting the final preparations on their colonies for over-wintering until next spring.

At the recent Apimondia congress in Buenos Aires, which drew in over 10,000 beekeepers and scientists,  a number of COLOSS members presented their research, and Peter Neumann, chair of COLOSS, gave a well-received plenary lecture on the goals, accomplishments, and future directions of the network.
Immediately prior to Apimondia, the Action chair at meetings in Chile secured funding from various  sources to conduct a workshop in that country in March 2012.

In addition, one Short-term Scientific Mission (STSM) was recently completed by COLOSS member Eva Forsgren.

STSM at the Institute for Bee Research, Hohen Neuendorf, Germany

This past summer, Eva travelled from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences to the lab of Dr. Elke Genersch to develop a fluorescence in situ hybridization  (FISH) technique for detection of the bacterium Melissococcus plutonius, the causative agent of European foulbrood.  The technique uses fluorescent probes to bind to specific genetic markers of the target organism, thus allowing researchers to  locate the bacteria within the honey bee host using microscopy. 

The image shows M. plutonius bacteria in the gut of a three day old larva.

Latest COLOSS meetings and conferences

In August 2011, COLOSS members from over 20 countries met in Belgrade, Serbia, for two workshops and the annual “Action conference” and meeting of the “Executive Committee.”

It was decided that 23 workshops and meetings should take place throughout Europe in the next year with the main aim of completing the COLOSS BEEBOOK. The book will be published by the International Bee Research Association.

Members of the Executive Committee also met Dr. Matthias Haury, Head of Science Operations at COST, who expressed his immense satisfaction with the work of COLOSS.

UN also concerned with honeybees

UNEP, the UN organization for the environment and development, is also dealing with the issue of honeybee health.

Peter Neumann, Head of COLOSS, pointed out that the issue of endangered bees is also an “emerging issue” for UNEP, i.e. it has become a topical and pressing issue. UNEP stands for United Nations Environment Programme; it is the UN organization that coordinates all UN activities to protect the environment. UNEP also considers it crucial to make every effort to maintain or restore the health of honeybee populations worldwide.

In a study entitled “Global Honey Bee Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators,” UNEP summarizes the current state of research. According to the study, out of the 100 varieties of grain that are most important worldwide and provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are reliant on pollination by bees. 4,000 types of vegetables only exist because they are pollinated by bees. The decline in honeybee populations that has become increasingly evident over the past few years therefore directly endangers the food supply for the world’s population.

New members of the COLOSS staff

Two new researchers, Aline Fauser and Geoffrey Williams, are now working at the Swiss Bee Research Center in Bern and are contributing new findings to COLOSS.