Bees play the vital role of pollinating many of our agricultural crops and balancing the ecosystem. A big part of the food we eat depends on pollinators such as honeybees. However, apiculture is facing important colony losses lately due to diseases and harmful pesticides.
The EU is funding several projects managed by the Executive Agency EASME (the EU’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) to help cope with this environmental crisis and save the hardworking bees:
BEEOXAL is a SME Instrument funded project from Sagavet Soluciones SL, a Spanish SME delivering animal health solutions, to eradicate Varroosis – the most serious honeybee disease worldwide. Based on a component already present in honey, oxalic acid, BEEOXAL has an efficacy of 96.8%
IoBee is EIC Fast Track to Innovation funded consortium that wants to reduce colony losses by 50%. The project aims to pilot and commercialise a new sensor application that can automatically assess the threats to a colony and then transmit results to a cloud server to run prediction models, risk assessments thus detecting earlier if the bees are healthy or in danger.
STOPVESPA project, funded by LIFE programme, consists in an insect-sized radar-transmitter that is helping Italian beekeepers safeguard their hives from a recent outbreak of Asian hornets (Vespa velutina). The project aims to control the invasion by using a tracking device glued to a captured hornet that will then follow Asian hornets back home, picking up their location and helping define guidelines for the neutralization of colonial nests.
Naturvation is also an EU Horizon 2020 funded project focusing on nature-based solutions with the potential of limiting the impacts of climate change, enhancing biodiversity and improving the environment in 100 European cities. Check their Urban Nature Atlas featuring projects that are also helping pollinators.
The European Parliament holds, since 2012, the European Bee and Pollination Week to bring together all stakeholders in the sector: European Members of Parliament, representatives of the EU institutions, beekeepers, farmers, scientists, veterinarians, manufacturers, NGOs and citizens. Together, they exchange proposals with public authorities to promote a sustainable beekeeping chain capable of ensuring the sustainability of the valuable service of pollination and its consequences: ecosystem services, biodiversity, production and food security.