To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what aid, including financial assistance, has been provided to bee farmers by her Department to help combat the threat of varroa in each of the last five years. 
[holding answer 18 June 2003]: Combating varroa as been the greatest single challenge to UK beekeeping since the mite was first detected in Devon in 1992. Defra funds a range of bee health measures to assist bee farmers and the beekeeping sector generally, the cost of which has been around £1.3 million in each of the last five years. Under these measures, the National Bee Unit (NBU), part of the Central Science Laboratory, provides a free diagnostic and inspection service to beekeepers in England as well as training and technical advice to help them become more self-reliant through improved bee husbandry. In addition, the NBU has been carrying out routine screening throughout England and Wales for varroa mites that are resistant to authorised treatments, having first detected them in August 2001.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of varroa mite infestation there have been in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the past five years. 
[holding answer 18 June 2003]: The number of new varroa infestations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in each of the last five years is set out in the following table:
|Numbers of new cases of varroa mite infestation: 1999–2003|
|1999||2000||2001||2002||2003 (to date)|