Is contact colony treatment with antibiotics an effective control for European foulbrood?
HELEN M THOMPSON AND MICHAEL A BROWN
The National Bee Unit (NBU), Central Science Laboratory, York, UK, has co-ordinated the bee health programme on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for England since 1994 and the National Assembly for Wales (formerly Welsh Office Agriculture Department) for Wales since 1995. This programme includes inspecting honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies for signs of foulbrood, laboratory confirmation of diagnosis, destroying confirmed cases of American foulbrood, treatment with oxytetracycline or destroying colonies confirmed to have European foulbrood. In addition, the programme includes a significant element of training for beekeepers in identifying and preventing disease*. The co-ordination of the bee health programme is managed through a database, Beebase, which contains information for over 25 000 beekeepers and holds records from 1994 of all inspections, treatments and destructions. In addition the NBU holds paper records from 1967–1979 and 1985–1993.