iGEM Toulouse 2015

"Beware varroa: Apicoli is guarding the beehive!"

Easter egg

Apis mellifera, the most efficient and widespread honey producing species, is heavily affected by the mite Varroa destructor. This pathogen is actually one of the most important cause of death for domestic bees. Indeed, according to beekeepers, up to 50% of the swarms can be lost every year because of this parasite, causing tremendous economic damages.


Percentage of hives disapearing every year in the US*

  • *INRA
  • 70%

    Honey production loss in France since 1995*

  • *UNAF
  • 30,000

    Number of hives lost every year in France since 1995*

  • *UNAF

  • Our team is committed to preserving honeybees by limiting infection of beehives by these mites. The aim of our project is to create a bacterium able to bait and eliminate the parasite using the Synthetic Biology tools and philosophy. The engineered bacterium, named ApiColi, will be safely placed in a trap and will express alternatively an attractant molecule and a poison for the Varroa destructor, in agreement with the honeybee life cycle. Our trap will be sealed to avoid any contact of the microorganism with the bees and the environment. We hope that our concept will help to reduce the decrease in bee populations and its disastrous consequences.


      Bronze medal

      Silver medal

      Gold medal