In 2017, the European Parliament proposed a Pilot Project to develop a system for environmental monitoring of pesticides using the honey bee (Apis mellifera) as a bioindicator. The European Commission successfully implemented the proposal in the 2018-2021 period. In 2020, the Parliament proposed a Preparatory Action to build on the piloted work, expand the monitoring scope to other environmental pollutants such as heavy metals, air pollutants and microplastics, and roll out the monitoring system on the ground in all EU countries (PA 09 20 02 Preparatory Action - Environmental monitoring through honey bees). The Preparatory Action will be implemented by the Commission in the 2022-2023 period.
The Pilot Project was implemented by the Insignia project. More information about the project and the Insignia consortium can be found at https://www.insignia-bee.eu. The project developed and tested a citizen science protocol for using a honeybee colony as a bio-sampler for pesticides in the environment. The outputs of the project are available below.
Insignia project outputs (for general public)
Insignia project outputs (for experts)
Other Insignia project outputs
List of analysed pesticide residues (PDF)
Insignia scientific publications (zip file)
Insignia notes to stakeholders (zip file)
The call for tenders has been closed. The project has started in January 2022. More information can be found here.