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Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of Phil Willis Phil Willis Chair, Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to monitor and control foul brood diseases in bees.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 20 May 2008

The National Bee Unit operates a statutory inspection programme for American foul brood (AFB) and European foul brood (EFB). DEFRA's bee health R and D programme is assessing the effectiveness of the shook swarm technique for the control of EFB to determine whether this method can be used by beekeepers as part of an Integrated Pest Management scheme. In addition, a PhD studentship is being funded through the DEFRA seedcorn fund to study AFB.

Reports are currently being prepared for two projects carried out during 2007-08 under the Horizon Scanning and Future Proofing Scheme which forms part of the Memorandum of Understanding between DEFRA and the Central Science Laboratory. These projects aimed to develop additional methods for distinguishing the bacteria causing AFB from other bacteria in the same subspecies and to investigate resistance of honey bees to EFB.

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