This weekend, over 80 of the world’s leading honey bee scientists met in Kiev, Ukraine, and took the colony loss network COLOSS, originally an EU COST action that ended last year, and turned it into a new non-profit association.
The aims of the new association are to: “improve the well-being of bees at a global level, with a primary focus on the western honey bee Apis mellifera. The ultimate goal of the Association is to sustainably mitigate bee population declines and sudden losses by pursuing a number of objectives: a. advocating for bees and their well-being, especially to government legislators and administrators; b. coordinating international research, including the development of standard research methods; c. disseminating knowledge and training related to improving the well-being of bees; and d. promoting youth development and gender balance among those studying, or those actively involved in promoting, the well-being of bees”.
Since its original foundation in 2008, COLOSS has significantly improved our understanding of the causes of honey bee colony losses, through the organization of conferences, workshops, and short-term scientific missions, and the coordination of research efforts. The collection of standardized data on the losses experienced by beekeepers, and a coordinated experiment studying the influence of genotype and environment on the survival of honey bee populations have been particular highlights. Most recently, COLOSS has published the first two volumes of the BEEBOOK which for the first time gives bee scientists and beekeepers some 1700 standardized research protocols written by 234 authors, enabling the results of research to be comparable across the world.
The new COLOSS Executive Committee has 15 members who are all leading bee scientists, actively involved in research, representing Austria, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UK, and the USA.
Speaking today at the 43rd International Apicultural Congress “Apimondia”, also held in Kiev, newly elected COLOSS President Prof. Peter Neumann said: “The COLOSS Network engendered an unprecedented degree of collaboration between more than 300 bee scientists from 63 countries worldwide, and was simply too valuable to lose. The new association means that we can continue to collect standardised data on colony losses, to share ideas and the latest thinking, in order to drive forward our understanding of the causes of bee losses and how best to help bees.”