One step closer to healthy bee populations: The PoshBee project comes to a close
This press release was published by EurekAlert! and AlphaGalileo.
The EU-funded PoshBee project successfully ended in May 2023, delivering a collection of evidence, tools and policy recommendations to support healthy bee populations.
Bee species are essential for both human and planetary well-being, but they face many threats causing their decline around the globe. To help reverse this decline, back in 2018, PoshBee set out to provide a holistic understanding of how chemicals affect health in honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees, and reveal how stressors interact to threaten bee health. Five years later, the project ended by delivering a collection of evidence, tools, methodologies and policy recommendations on the impact of chemicals, pathogens and nutritional stress on bees.
To obtain a comprehensive view of bee health and stakeholder needs, PoshBee united 43 partner organisations from 14 European countries, integrating the knowledge and experience of academics, beekeepers, farmers, small businesses, agrochemical industries, and charities. The project established a pan-European field site network comprising a total of 128 sites – 8 countries, 2 crops per country (apple and oilseed rape) and 8 sites per crop. Exposure data from the site network was used to measure chemical exposure, pathogens, and poor nutrition in honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees.
Furthermore, PoshBee studied the interactions among agrochemicals and the effects of their interaction with nutrition and pathogens in the laboratory, as well as in semi-field and field experiments. Proteomics delivered an unprecedented level of understanding about the impacts of these stressors on bees at the molecular level, resulting in the development of a bee health tool. Modelling approaches produced a holistic framework within which we can understand bee health. Finally, the project supported the need for, and developed, new model species for risk assessment, agent-based assessment models, monitoring tools, novel screening protocols, and practice-relevant research insights and tools. Currently, PoshBee is developing a series of policy briefs that will contain concise research-based policy recommendations.
Professor Mark Brown, the leader of PoshBee, says "PoshBee has tackled the problem of bee health across an array of approaches, generating an unprecedented understanding of the problems bees face in agricultural environments across Europe. More importantly, it has developed a range of tools and advice that should improve and protect bee health in the coming years."
Although there is still a long way to go when it comes to stopping and reversing bee decline, PoshBee is happy to have contributed to supporting bee health. Discover the project’s key findings by downloading its legacy brochure here.