Torbjörn “Totto” Eckerman – Chairman (email@example.com)
Benoit “Ben” Leroux – Vice Chairman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ralf Styrström – Secretary
Marit Wiklöv – Treasurer (email@example.com)
Matej Suchy – Member (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dan Kihlström – Substitute
A little about us beekeepers on Åland.
Beekeeping on Åland is about 100 years old. We have drawn attention to this in our anniversary book, which was published in 2013, when our association celebrated 25 years.
Interest in beekeeping has grown strongly in recent years and we are now about 100 beekeepers with around 900-1000 colonies this year.
The bees have suffered a lot in the last ten years and there are many fears for their survival.
The threats are parasites, but also pesticides (including pesticides).
The biggest threat so far is the tiny varroa mite, which can destroy a bee colony in a couple of seasons.
The varroa mite, like the tick, is a carrier of many different viruses and disease-causing bacteria. This causes the bees to weaken and many colonies die during the winter due to viruses and bacteria. As much as 35% of hibernating colonies in some areas, but it also happens that hives are emptied of bees during the summer. The suspicions are directed at certain pesticides which cause the bees to lose their orientation, and then they cannot find their home.
Status: Varroa-free region
Åland, together with the Isle of Man, Iceland and Australia, are the largest currently known areas where the varroa mite is not found. All bees in Iceland have been exported there from Åland.
In the years 2011-2018, together with EVIRA, we have taken samples of our bees and they are varroa-free. The presence of other parasites is minimal.
Scientists believe that the varroa mite is the devastating carrier of all kinds of viruses and bacteria.
In autumn 2013, the European Commission gave Åland the status of a varroa-free region, which immediately resulted in an import freeze of bees here.
We have been very restrictive about importing bees at all to Åland and this was our luck.
Now we can export healthy Åland bees to areas believed to be varroa-free, small coastal areas on the Finnish mainland, the same in Sweden, upper Norrland and Iceland. We export around 100 communities every summer.