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BETTER-B: Improving Bees' Resilience to Stressors by Restoring Harmony and Balance

This project aims to improve the resilience of beekeeping to abiotic stresses such as climate change, habitat loss and hazardous chemicals, and to understand the processes and mechanisms that apply in nature and to adapt modern beekeeping practices and decision making accordingly.


Honey bee colonies are often poorly adapted to cope with abiotic stresses, in no small part due to modern beekeeping practices. The key to resilient beekeeping is to harness the power of nature to restore harmony and balance inside the honey bee colony and between the colony and the environment, both of which have been disturbed by human activities. We believe that the path to harmony and balance is provided by Darwinian colonies: abandoned colonies and feral colonies that have survived in the wild. However, such colonies usually lack many favorable characteristics that are important in modern beekeeping.

The implementation of the BETTER-B approach in apicultural management will be undertaken in close collaboration with all relevant actors. The restoration of harmony and balance must take place on three levels: the environment, the honey bee and beekeeping practices.

SESS leads the creation of a simulation-based decision-support model using the ALMaSS framework, which will be used to identify critical landscape and time-specific points when pollinator forage is limiting, leading to competition both among honey bee colonies and between honey bees and wild bees. In addition, SESS is in charge of establishing a multi-actor forum (expert and practitioner groups) and co-development processes on national and EU levels.



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Christopher John Topping

Professor Department of Ecoscience - Biodiversity and Conservation

Project duration



Horizon Europe, the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government's Horizon Europe funding guarantee.