The challenge

Honey bees, pests and diseases

Honey bees contribute directly to sustainable local food production and more broadly, through pollination, to crop production. They are susceptible to pests and diseases, which have increased significantly in the UK over the last 5 to 10 years.

Current widespread risks include American Foulbrood and European Foulbrood, varroa mites and associated viruses. Colony losses due to varroa infestation have increased since 2001. This is a result of the mites‟ developing resistance to available pyrethroid varroacides and the limited alternative treatments.

Potential exotic risks include the small hive beetle, parasitic brood mites (Tropilaelaps species) and undesirable species such as the Asian hornet.

The management of pests and diseases in hives to the lowest levels achievable, in particular through integrated pest management, is needed in order to reduce the risk of further spread to nearby apiaries. It is also necessary to sustain the role of honey bees in pollinating crops and to minimise lost honey production.

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