COST Save the Bees

The first research results in this area suggests that bee colony losses are not due to one single factor only, but rather to highly complex interactions of various factors (pests and pathogens; environment, e.g. nutrition use of agrochemicals; management; and reduced bee vitality/diversity). If we do not know the factors and the extent of the problem, we cannot implement effective mitigating measures.

The scope for research: how can bees be saved?
Because little is known about the causes of honeybee colony collapse, there is an urgent and strong need to coordinate further research to investigate the several factors (and their interdependent effects) causing severe bee colony losses. To achieve this goal, it is essential to set internationally accepted standards for both monitoring and research on bee health. COST Action FA0803, also known as COLOSS (Prevention of Honeybee Colony Losses) is the first international research network on this topic and was established in 2008 through COST.

COLOSS: an international research effort to save bees .

COLOSS is a truly global network – currently consisting of over 250 partners from 56 countries worldwide – and coordinates research and activities by scientists, extension specialists, beekeepers, and industry members.

COLOSS is working towards a major breakthrough – the establishment of a set of standards for scientific methods in bee research, by compiling an unprecedented project in this area: the ‘Bee Book’ . The Bee Book will be an online tool to foster research and monitoring as well as a common database on honeybee losses allowing scientists and other stakeholders to draw general conclusions on honeybee colony losses on a global level.

In addition to the Bee Book, the Action is for the first time systematically investigating synergistic interactions between factors causing colony mortality at both individual honeybee and colony levels , which is a novel approach in this research branch. Moreover, training will be provided to relevant stakeholders. Finally, the resulting adequate dissemination of results is another crucial step towards enhancing awareness of the importance of pollinators.

COLOSS is organised into four Working Groups, each dealing with specific research topics:

  • Monitoring and Diagnosis
  • Pests and Pathogens
  • Environment and Beekeeping
  • Vitality and Diversity

COLOSS is also collaborating with the newly designated EU reference laboratory in the field of bee health at the 'Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (ANSES)' in Sophia-Antipolis, France.

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Contact Information

Dr Ioanna Stavridou
Science Officer Food and Agriculture
COST Office

Dr Peter Neumann
Chair of COST Action FA0803 COLOSS
Swiss Bee Research Centre, Federal Department of Economic Affairs EVD


"The protection of honeybee health is of high importance in the EU. The EU should reinforce the framework in place, in the spirit of our Animal Health Strategy principle 'prevention is better than cure' and assist the Member States and the beekeepers in their quest for better and sustainable bee health.”

John Dalli
Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner


Last updated: 04 November 2011 top of page