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Germany develops several research programs for the preservation of honey bees and other pollinators

The German Minister of Agriculture has highlighted the importance of bees and other pollinating insects for agriculture.


Julia Klöckner, German Minister of Agriculture.

On the occasion of the fourth International Bee Day this year, on May 20, Germany's Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, visited the Institute for the Protection of Bees at the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) in Braunschweig , which was founded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The JKI is the Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants of Germany and is part of the BMEL.

Julia Klöckner: “Bees and other pollinators are of great importance to our ecosystem. They contribute significantly to the preservation of biological diversity and to the fact that there is a large selection of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Without them, our supermarket shelves would look empty: about 80 percent of all plants depend on cross-pollination, and again 80 percent of these plants are also pollinated by wild and honey bees. Therefore, our diet also depends on the health of bees. That is why we founded the Institute for the Protection of Bees and invested in research to understand and protect bees in the best possible way. We close knowledge gaps and therefore ensure sustainable science-based protection against insects and bees. "

In this context, the Federal Minister pointed out that the number of honey bees in Germany had even increased in recent years, also due to the commitment of beekeepers. Unfortunately, the diversity and numbers of wild bees are declining. The reasons for this are manifold.

In Braunschweig, the Federal Minister delivered a financing decision for the "NutriBee" project, a joint project that the Federal Ministry is supporting with a total of more than one million euros. The project investigates how young colonies develop compared to economic colonies under stress, such as lack of food, pesticides and their combination, and what factors have a decisive influence on the health of bees.

In addition, the minister learned about the beekeeping institute's ongoing research projects for the protection of bees and other pollinating insects in the agricultural landscape.

ABO Project - Apis (honey bees), Bombus (bumblebees) and Osmien (wild bees)

The project includes a comparative study with honey bees, wild bees and bumblebees. Among other things, the behavior and development of the various species of bees are examined in a laboratory and field experiment. To protect all bees, it is investigated whether, and to what extent, other species of bees in the field are more threatened than honey bees. The honey bee is a well-researched model organism. However, social bumblebees and solitary wild bees fundamentally differ in biology and behavior.

Joint project Beecheck & VIBEE

An important parameter, previously difficult to measure, for the vitality and activity of a bee colony is the record of flight activity. The "BeeCheck" is an electronic measurement system that works with sensors to accurately count all the flying bees in a colony over long periods of time. The device non-invasively, long-term and seamlessly analyzes for colonies the speeds and directions of movement of individual bees to accurately document the number and flight activity pattern of bees flying in and out. , even when staying in the entrance hole, very close to each other, in encounters or traffic jams.

The digital bee colony is at the heart of the joint VIBee project. Conclusions about the health of bees should be derived from influencing factors such as climate, national weight and, above all, flight activity. With this data, precise landscape analysis using state-of-the-art drone technology can be used to establish links to the flowering range in the flight radius of bee colonies. All the data then flows together into a virtual bee colony model, which can represent realistic colony development under the mentioned influences. Therefore, it is possible to predict certain events. This is used by science for a comprehensive assessment of consequences, for example in the area of ​​pesticide approval.

Wild Bee Capital Projects in Braunschweig, MonVIA

At the Institute for the Protection of Bees, the status, development and distribution of the honey bee population and the diversity of wild bees under the influence of agricultural production, land use and structural changes are investigated. Scientists are developing a nationwide bee trend monitoring system, which allows long-term analysis with the help of a collection of historical data from bee colonies and current data from beekeepers using modern measurement techniques. This data is supplemented by a variety of other data, such as waste, food supply, or disease.

A bee detection application (based on artificial intelligence) is used to collect data on the presence of wild bees in parallel with honey bees. In the Bienenstadt project, in cooperation with the city, flowering areas for bees are created throughout the city, and the effectiveness of financing measures is evaluated and optimized.

Anyone can help the bees and create their own "bee buffets" in the garden or on the balcony. How this works is demonstrated by the initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture together with various partners because bees can only collect something where something is blooming.

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