Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie

Patrick L. Kohl

PhD student

e-Mail: patrick.kohl@uni-wuerzburg.de

ORCID: 0000-0001-9278-978X
Room: C046

University of Würzburg
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
Biocenter - Am Hubland

97074 Würzburg, Germany

  • Biology of social insects, especially honey bees (Apis spp.)
  • Pollination ecology
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Wildlife in the Anthropocene/conservation biology
  • Sustainable apiculture

Population biology of wild/feral honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera) in German forests (PhD project, sponsored by DBU)

The honey bee is usually considered as the domesticated insect managed for honey production and crop pollination, but Apis mellifera has generally always been a wild bee species, too. After our finding that wild/feral honeybee colonies still occur in German forests (Kohl and Rutschmann 2018) the critical question is whether these colonies form a self-sustaining population (as opposed to the feral "population" being maintained by the recurrent immigration of swarms from apiaries). To clarify this, we are monitoring in detail the population demography of feral colonies in several forest areas over multiple years. Furthermore, we investigate how feral honey bees relate to managed honeybees in terms of colony abundances, heritage, and health status.

  • Since 05/2019 PhD student at the department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg, fellow of Deutsche Bundesstifung Umwelt
  • 2018–2019  Pre-doctoral researcher at the department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg, in the group of Prof. Dr. Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter
  • 2018 MSc in Biology at the University of Würzburg, Thesis: "Pollination ecology of Clinopodium alpinum along an altitudinal gradient in the Northern Alps"
  • 2015–2018 Master studies in Biology at the University of Würzburg
  • 2015–2018 Three research trips as a visiting student to the honey bee lab of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India; comparative studies on behavior and ecology of three Asian honey bee species (PROMOS grant by the DAAD in 2015, grants by the Bavarian-Indian Centre in 2017 and 2018)
  • 2014 BSc in Biology at the University of Münster, thesis project in cooperation with Landwirtschaftskammer NRW (Aufgabengebiet Bienenkunde): "Drone production in naturally nesting and beekeeper-managed honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera)"
  • 09/2013­­–02/2014 Studies in Zoology, Biogeography and Limnology at the University of Granada, Spain (ERASMUS grant)
  • 2011­­–2014 Bachelor studies in Biology at the University of Münster


Kohl PL, Rutschmann B, Steffan-Dewenter I (2022). Population demography of feral honeybee colonies in central European forests. Royal Society Open Science 9: 220565. http://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.220565

Kohl PL & Steffan-Dewenter I (2022). Nectar robbing rather than pollinator availability constrains reproduction of a bee-flowered plant at high elevations. Ecosphere 13(6): e4077. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.4077

Rutschmann B*, Kohl PL*, Machado A, Steffan-Dewenter I (2022). Semi-natural habitats promote winter survival of wild-living honeybees in an agricultural landscape. Biological Conservation 266:109450 ttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109450 *equal contribution

George EA, Thulasi N, Kohl PL, Suresh S, Rutschmann B, Brockmann A (2021). Distance estimation by Asian honey bees in two visually different landscapes. Journal of Experimental Biology jeb.242404. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.242404

Kohl PL & Rutschmann B (2021). Honey bees communicate distance via non-linear waggle duration functions. PeerJ 9:e11187 DOI 10.7717/peerj.11187  https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.11187

Young AM*, Kohl PL*, Rutschmann B*, Steffan-Dewenter I, Brockmann A, Dyer FC (2021). Temporal and spatial foraging patterns of three Asian honey bee species in Bangalore, India. Apidologie. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-020-00839-1  *equal contribution

Kohl PL, Thulasi N, Rutschmann B, George EA, Steffan-Dewenter I, & Brockmann A (2020). Adaptive evolution of honeybee dance dialects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B287(1922), 20200190. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.0190 

Cammarosano M, Weirauch K, Maruhn F, Jendritzki G, Kohl PL* (2019). They Wrote on Wax. Wax Boards in the Ancient Near East. Mesopotamia LIV (2019), 121-180. *contribution to a chapter on honey bees and traditional apiculture 

Requier F, Garnery L, Kohl PL, Njovu HK, Pirk CW, Crewe RM & Steffan-Dewenter I (2019). The conservation of native honey bees is crucial. Trends in ecology & evolution34(9), 789-798. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2019.04.008 

Kohl PL* & Rutschmann B* (2018). The neglected bee trees: European beech forests as a home for feral honey bee colonies. PeerJ6, e4602. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4602 *equal contribution



Rutschmann B, Kohl PL, Roth S (2018). Beelining – wie man wildlebende Honigbienen findet. Deutsches Bienenjournal  7/2018 pp.13–15

Kohl PL, Rutschmann B (2018). Versteckt und unerforscht – wildlebende Honigbienen in unseren Wäldern. Deutsches Bienenjournal 6/2018 pp.16–17