Climate smart beekeeping: Adapting beekeeping practices to changing climatic conditions in Hesse

Background and Goals

Global climate change is a fact. Changes of the climate have already occurred in Hesse, and further changes are to be expected. The climatic shifts of temperature and precipitation in the course of the year will have a noticeable impact on the environment as well as on agriculture and forestry, and thus on the nutritional basis of bees. In order to reduce colony losses, to improve the health of honeybee colonies and the profitability of beekeeping in Hesse, new beekeeping methods adapted to climate change must be developed and tested.

The aim of the project is to investigate the various current effects of climate change in Hesse on honeybees and its consequences for beekeeping, and to develop appropriate measures for adaptation of management practices. The effects of different adaptation measures on colony development, bee health and longevity will be tested in field experiments. The main focus of the project is the investigation of the effectiveness of different methods and timing of varroa treatment in the course of the year and their effects on varroa infestation, colony strength and pathogens. The effectiveness of the measures will subsequently be tested at exemplary, climatically different locations (with regard to temperature, height, flower abundance, greening measures) and, if necessary, adapted to the local conditions.

A better understanding of the impacts of climate change on honeybees is of fundamental importance for sustainable bee protection. The early development of adaptation strategies and measures should limit imminent impairments and damage to Hessian beekeeping. Accordingly, our project is expected to contribute to the improvement of beekeeping methods, e.g. for varroa control. The results will be directly integrated into the advisory service of the Hessian beekeepers and, via relevant publications, presentations and direct communication, will serve to advise policymakers.

related procjects: EIP-Agri Praxis-Forschung-Bienen

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Hesse

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Time horizon
  • short term = next year’s / decades
  • medium term = to 2050

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 


Adapation of

  • Varroa diagnostic tools
  • varroa treatment
  • Feeding in autum in praparation of overwintering

Implementation of the findings via

  • Teaching (beekeepers, multiplicator, veterinary experts, university students)
  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • Website
  • Flyer, etc.
Time horizon
  • Presence
  • 2011–2040 (near future)


Funding / Financing 

Funding of a research project in accordance with the Directive on the Promotion of Measures to Improve the Production and Marketing of Honey in Hessen funded by the EU and the State of Hessen

Project management 

LLH Bee Institute Kirchhain


Dr. Annely Brandt
Annely [dot] brandt [at] llh [dot] hessen [dot] de

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  biological diversity