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Completed Projects

The NBU works for a range of customers including Defra. At the end of every Defra funded research project, the NBU team involved completes a Science In Defra (SID5) final report. Each SID5 contains full details about the background of the project, how the work was carried out, the results obtained, the statistical analyses, and the conclusions drawn. The report is then submitted to Defra for review, pending publication by Defra. Where available, the final reports, project information or links to these can be accessed below.

Projects below are sorted by research topic headings for ease of navigation, please note however that some projects may fall into more than one research areas.

Exotics and Surveillance

  • EPILOBEE project- Epidemiological study on honey bee colony losses implemented in 17 European member states. Each member state developed a surveillance protocol based on guidelines produced by the European Reference Laboratory for honeybee health (EURL) to harmonize the surveillance procedures: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/live_animals/bees/study_on_mortality/index_en.htm
  • Improving risk-based approaches for bee health surveillance (Defra funded Horizon Scanning project)
  • Predicting future honey bee pest distributions using the latest Climate Change Scenarios (Tropilaelaps) (Defra funded Seedcorn project)
  • Pest Risk Assessment for Small hive beetle; PH0510
  • The foundations of a GIS based system for bee health; HH0818SHB
  • Development of a monitoring system for the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Murray) (Defra funded project number PH0503)
  • Evaluation of TaqMan real-time PCR for detection of Aethina tumida (Small Hive Beetle); HH3126SHB
  • Detection and control techniques for the Small Hive Beetle Aethina tumida; HH3225SHB
  • The control of exotic bee diseases and their likely interactions with UK conditions; HHO819SHB

Pathogens and Disease Control Systems

  • SmartBees aimed to analyse the current level of genetic diversity among Europe two races of bees to understand the critical interactions between honey bees, the Varroa mite and viruses.  (A collaboration research project between 16 partners from universities, research institutions and companies across Europe). SmartBees was funded by the European Commission.
  • Modelling systems for managing bee disease: the epidemiology of European foulbrood - (Collaboration with Universities of Bath, Newcastle and Warwick) Funded as part of the Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI).  Link to IPI Reports
  • Evaluating the field efficacy of the fungicide enilconazole (Imazalil) as a potential alternative chemical treatment for the control of Nosema spp. (Defra project number VM0139)
  • Developing Real-Time PCR TaqMan instrumentation for bee health diagnostics; HH3224SHB
  • Bee virus/varroa epidemiolgy; HH0810SHB
  • EFSA Bee Mortality and Bee Surveillance in Europe project (EFSA funded) (pdf)
  • Assessing the effectiveness of the shook swarm method for controlling European Foul Brood (Defra funded project number PH0502)
  • Honey bee virus detection and discrimination; HH3235SHB
  • Investigating novel control methods for honey bee pests and diseases; PH0505
  • Investigating the taxonomy of UK honey bee viruses: A molecular approach (Defra funded project number PH0410, with University of Surrey)
  • Streamlining honey bee diagnostic services (Defra funded)
  • Evaluation of Metagenomic Sequencing (Pyrosequencing) as a Diagnostic Tool for the Characterisation of Disease of Unknown Aetiology (Defra Seedcorn)
  • Control and risk management of honey bee pests and diseases (Defra project number; PH0506)
  • Investigation of the fate of veterinary drugs used in apiculture; VM02140
  • Development of a method of biological control of European foulbrood in honeybees to supersede antibiotic treatments; HL0161LHB
  • Defra Biosecurity Chip - SD0443 Microarray for detection of 40 viral families in a single test


Fera and the NBU were involved in a number of projects as both leads or collaborators under the The Insect Pollinators Initiative, a joint initiative from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Natural Environment Research Council, The Scottish Government and the Wellcome Trust.

Details of these projects can be found below.

        More information can be found on the BeeBase IPI Bee Disease Page, here.

Husbandry, Behaviour and Honey bee Biology

  • A summary of the Social science study of beekeeping practices pdf;

                   - The final report of the study can be found here ;

  • Application of genotyping to study the diversity and provenance of managed and feral honey bees in the UK (Defra funded Seedcorn project);
  • Investigations into why honey bee queens fail (Waterloo funding);
  • Investigating abnormal colony losses in England and Wales (Defra funded).

Pesticides, Treatments and Medicines

  • Assessment of the risk posed to honeybees by systemic pesticides; PS2322
  • Use of sub-lethal effects in honeybees in pesticide risk assessment; PNO944
  • Assessing the impact of mixtures of pyrethroids and fungicides on honeybees; PNO945
  • Establishing the appropriate treatment method and an MRL for oxytetracycline for honey; HH0816SHB
  • Minimisation of oxytetracycline levels in honey after antibiotic treatment; HH3223SHB

Updated 29/04/2021 [RC]