Honey bee diseases, genetics and pollination

The activities of honey bees and other pollinators is vital for agricultural production and protection of biodiversity. The great majority of agricultural crops must be pollinated by insects. The financial importance of pollinators for European agriculture is estimated to be more than 20 billion euros per year.  

Frequent reports of significant losses of honey bees gives rise to concern among beekeepers and crop growers, the latter of whom need honey bees for pollination of their crops. At the same time, we are seeing a decrease in the number of wild bees across the EU. In order to find solutions we need to have a better understanding of the underlying issues. 

Our research area builds on more than one hundred years of systematic monitoring and management of honey bees and publicly funded treatment of associated diseases in Denmark. Our aim is to support a healthy and productive population of honey bees in Denmark and the rest of the EU through improved understanding of the diseases and productivity of honey bees. 

We carry out strategic and basic research in honey bee health. Specific projects focus on the importance of food resources for disease resistance, honey bee genetics, and diversity. We work with improved control of varroa mites to help beekeepers with timely control. We are responsible for engaging and supporting hundreds of beekeepers with their participation in monitoring programmes and disease control. An important element is courses for experienced beekeepers and continuing education of experienced beekeepers and bee inspectors.