The project

BeeGuards aims to strengthen the resilience of the European beekeeping sector by providing sustainable management practices, novel breeding strategies and digital and forecasting tools that allow the sector to adapt to a changing environment. We focus on determining how abiotic factors such as management practices, climate change, nutrition and resource limitations drive emerging biotic stressors that threaten colony health and erode the resilience of European beekeeping.

BeeGuards comprises multiple actors and adopts a multi actor approach from inception which has led to an open and inclusive design of the work program. As a community, we will perform European-wide field studies evaluating and validating innovative threshold-based management and breeding strategies for resilience, using hives equipped with technological measurement tools. Complementary detailed immunological, behavioral, microbiological, pathological, ecological investigations will elucidate the ways in which management and climate act on honeybees and other pollinators. In this way, BeeGuards will, for the first time, provide a truly holistic view of the mechanisms determining beekeeping resilience and implement nature-based, local solutions for adaption, including model-based advisory tools for stakeholders.

Our open and participatory actions include development of a WikiBEEdia community website where we will share and promote the BeeGuards concepts and results,
including a Quest for sustainable beekeeping practices. Ultimately, BeeGuards will show the way for a change of perspective that is needed to achieve resilient beekeeping. BeeGuards will mitigate the environmental impact of beekeeping in terms of impact on wild pollinators and of carbon footprint, protect pollinator biodiversity, ensure the future provision of pollination services and support the economic development and inclusiveness of beekeeping, preparing the European apicultural sector to meet the climate challenge.

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