Bee Health Surveillance Results Promising

October 26, 2012


By: Lisa Corkish


The Honey bees kept on the Isle of Man have enjoyed good health whilst that of those on neighbouring Islands has significantly declined with the spread of new diseases and pests, most notably Varroa.  Should the Varroa mite get into bees here it is most unlikely that it could be eradicated and it would become a chronic cause of disease and reduced production.


At the request of Manx Bee Keepers the Department has supported efforts to maintain the health of Manx hives by the use of statutory controls. The Department introduced new legislation in 2008 to help prevent the spread of disease into the Manx bee population including a requirement for keepers to register and allow inspection and testing of hives.


Following a field trial in 2008 the Department launched a Bee Health Surveillance Programme in September 2009.  Since that time, a statistically significant number of hives have been inspected and tested including some from nearly all bee keepers.  Two testing rounds have now been successfully completed revealing no evidence for the presence of Varroa mite or European Foul Brood disease. The data from this surveillance will be used to make an application to the European Union for official recognition of disease freedom.


Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture said “I’m delighted to have been able to work with the bee keepers on this at what is a particularly challenging time for bee health and I look forward to gaining official recognition of our high bee health status from the EU to help secure the health of Manx bees in to the future. The 1989 Bees Act prohibits the importation of bees into the Isle of Man and our recently completed Surveillance Programme will assist us in rigorously enforcing this Act.”


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