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Bees: Disease Control

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research the Government is funding on (a) acaricide-resistant varroa destructor and its associated viral diseases, (b) European foulbrood, (c) bee viruses and (d) nosema. (204196)

In 2008-09, the research programme will continue to focus on the development of a monitoring and surveillance system for the Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida (Murray)) and assessing the effectiveness of the ‘shook swarm’ technique for the control of European Foul Brood (EFB). A three-year PhD studentship studying bee viruses, including those that are not transmitted by Varroa, which is based at the University of Surrey, will continue to build on recent progress.

Last year, the National Bee Unit analysed samples for the two Nosema species known to infect bees, Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae. Both species are present in England and Wales, although exact details of the spread and prevalence of these species are currently unknown.

No research is currently being carried out on Varroa destructor. However, this has been identified as a potential future research priority in the draft Bee Health strategy, which has recently been published for public consultation.