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Bees: Diseases

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on bee colony collapse; (197593)

(2) what recent research he has commissioned into colony collapse disease affecting bees; and if he will make a statement.

DEFRA is aware of the press reports last year about the serious situation in the USA in respect of cases of abnormally high levels of colony loss, described as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). While some common factors have been identified, such as high levels of Israeli Paralysis Virus, the cause of colony collapse has yet to be identified.

Scientists and inspectors at DEFRA’s National Bee Unit (NBU) are continuing to monitor the situation in the USA. To date, we do not have evidence to suggest that there is something similar happening in the UK.

The limited cases of high losses which occur here, for which there is no ready explanation such as poor management or failure to control the varroa mite, are investigated in depth as part of the NBU’s horizon-scanning work.