The central issue in modern (Dutch) Beekeeping is a gap between resilience against pests and diseases of managed colonies within apiaries and the natural resilience of bee colonies.
Due to selection for traits beneficial to beekeepers (gentleness, honey production), traits that increase bee resilience have got lost or been suppressed. From the beekeeping sector and the government, a need has arisen to not only work on IPM strategies to reduce pests and diseases, but also to work on the bee’s own resilience against these pests and diseases.
Project and report Resilient Honey Bees
Within the project 'Weerbare bij' BO-20-003-023 previously called Duurzame bij) a Dutch report was written in 2014-2015 on the topic of resilient honey bees. In this report the current (dd October 2015) initiatives that aim towards resilient honey bees were identified. This overview of initiatives is preceded by a literature overview placing the initiatives within the context of the biology of the bees.
Basically, within the collection of initiatives two pathways seem to be explored to improve bee resilience. One group breeds resistance-traits related to a pest or disease into current populations of bee colonies. The other group works from material that shows natural resistance and/or tolerance to pests or diseases or shows high local adaptation.
From this report, the key players of a selection of these initiatives were invited to participate in an international workshop on November 23 and 24 2015. During this workshop the state of the art on honey bee resilience was determined and initiatives were aligned. Based on the workshop an international knowledge agenda is now being written.