Program Chair: Melanie M. Kirby

As the Anthropocene bears witness and responsibility to the effects of shifting climate, research trends and diverse stewardship of Social Insects approaches and applications will necessitate variance. The focus of this topic is to present research and outreach efforts as related to topographical influences, cultural management, and in fluctuating environmental conditions.


Plenary Speakers

The physiological and life-history costs of parasitism: effect of the interaction between temperature and the ectoparasite Varroa destructor on Apis mellifer

European bees (Apis mellifera) are vital to human activity, but since 2006 there have been high losses of productive colonies. Varroa destructor has been considered as one of the main causes, in addition to other factors such as malnutrition, pesticides and climate change. In this occasion I will talk about the relationship between temperature and the ectoparasite Varroa destructor on the physiological performance of Apis mellifera from 1) an individual point of view considering energy expenditure, maximum thermal tolerance (CTMax), survival, protein and haemolymph cell count, among others; and 2) some changes in the behaviour of the colony when being under high temperatures with or without the presence of the parasite. On the first point, we worked with bees in laboratory conditions at two temperatures (TAcc, normal 32 ± 1.5 °C and high at 36 ± 1.5 °C) and different numbers of parasites (0, 1 or 2 Varroa). It was found that the higher TAcc reduced energy expenditure, survival, proteins and total cells, but their values were negatively affected as the number of mites increased. On the other hand, the survival time against high temperature was significantly higher in the high temperature group and decreased with the number of mites and with the interaction of both factors. CTMax values were similar between treatments, showing that exposure temperature is a more determinant variable than TAcc or number of parasites. In the second point, we have some preliminary results that explain part of the highest mortality in summer in Chile since 2018.

Patricia Aldea-Sánchez

Universidad Internacional SEK

Veterinarian with a Masters in Ecology and a PhD in Agricultural Science. Her experience is related to social insects (ants, wasps and honeybees), but since 2007 her research is mainly focused on honeybees. As a veterinarian, she is focused on pathogens, pathogen-host interactions and some external factors that affect the productivity of the hive such as beekeeping practices, genetic quality, nutrition and others. In this sense, her doctoral thesis was related to the main pest in honey bees, the ectoparasite Varroa destructor, and how the highest temperature affects the relationship between this pest and the host in some physiological variables and health status. Nowadays is working as a researcher in the Universidad SEK in the Interdisciplinary Institute of Science developing projects related to bee diseases and molecular diagnosis, climate change and its effects on the colony, bee production and products, pesticides and their effects on bees, among others. Since 2022 she is president of the Latin American Society for Bee Research (SoLatinA), but she has been part of the Directive Commission since 2017; and since 2013 she has been part of COLOSS in the Varroa Task Forces and the B-RAP Group.


Supportive functions in a robust beekeeping knowledge and innovation system

A skilled and experienced beekeeper knows how to read the seasons’ development and accordingly manage his/her honey bee colonies. A lot of practices are being done by routine but with a changing and unpredictable climate, on a global level, the demand for credible knowledge, innovation and support is called upon from both experienced and new beekeepers. Do these supporting structures exist, and do they keep up with the articulated demands of beekeepers?

Local adaptation and sharing of context-specific research results and practical experience are necessary and generally facilitated through beekeeping extension activities. This adapted knowledge needs to be accessible to beekeepers in a user-friendly form – ideally through a network of various supporting structures focusing on different aspects of beekeeping. These various sources of knowledge and support for innovation in beekeeping are defined as a Beekeeping Knowledge and Innovation System (B-KIS).

There are significant differences between countries regarding stakeholder involvement, existing networks, and funding. Such differences can be made visible by using the B-KIS model, which allows a quick structured overview of the main actors within the beekeeping sector and their relationships with each other. In the presentation, this tool will be demonstrated.

A Swedish case study looked into the function’s situation for the national B-KIS and existing and non-existing functions were identified. Using a multi-stakeholder approach a joint way forward towards a common goal was set out. The results provide recommendations on how a socially robust KIS for the Swedish beekeeping sector might be organized.

Lotta Fabricius Kristiansen

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Lotta Fabricius Kristiansen is a research assistant at SLU RådNu, The national competence Centre forAdvisory Services at SLU. Her focus is on knowledge systems, capacity building and sustainablelandscapes in relation to beekeepers and beekeeping, pollinators and ecosystem services in particularpollination services. She is co-chair of the COLOSS working group Bridging Research and Practice, B-RAP. She has been a beekeeper since the end of the 90s and runs an organic beekeeping businesstogether with her husband. She has apart from writing beekeeping books initiated a consumer platformfor Swedish honey, the network Pollinate Sweden and also worked in development beekeeping projectsin Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka.


New Zealand’s native bees: The angels of the forest

New Zealand’s native bees are small, unassuming insects that have largely gone unnoticed. They are unique, and special because they are part of the natural world. Raising awareness of native bees has been challenging at times. However, by simply sharing the stories of native bees with others, showing others how to quietly watch bees, awareness has grown and continues to grow.

Ngaire Hiria Hart

Kaitiaki Creations, New Zealand

Dr Ngaire Hart’s (Ngatiwai) research has focused on monitoring New Zealand's native bees. Her interest in bees came about during her undergraduate studies when she was asked to design a tracking device for insects; leading on to her PhD, where she created an image-processing method to determine the population status of native bees. With over 15 years experience, Ngaire and her family continue to share the stories of ngaro huruhuru (native bees) with a wide audience, leading kaitiakitanga (stewardship) of native bees and their habitats.

Want to learn more? See other content tagged with