The Research Network for Sustainable Bee Breeding is the task force dedicated to breeding and conservation within COLOSS.
This task force aims to improve honey bee health by considering the bees’ genetic origin and how they interact with the surrounding environment. We believe that the native honey bee populations represent an important resource for breeding gentle and productive bees adapted to environmental challenges. The ultimate aim of our group is to improve honey bee welfare by developing and disseminating comprehensive breeding strategies that include colony vitality and the conservation of locally adapted populations.
The Western honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is a diverse species, with 26 currently recognized subspecies reflecting the wide variety of ecosystems in its native range of Africa, Europe, Western and Central Asia. Studies of honey bee biodiversity were initiated in the 20th century, with outstanding contributions of two significant personalities: Brother Adam (1898-1996), who collected bees from across the world in search of the “perfect bee???, and Friedrich Ruttner (1914-1998), a scientist who published the work of his lifetime in the comprehensive monograph “Biogeography and taxonomy of honeybees??? (1988). This volume is still considered an important reference manual for anyone studying honey bee diversity, but more recently, increasing evidence from molecular methods has added to the picture.