Published on 04/02/2014
Over the past decade, increases in honeybee mortality were reported in several countries within and outside the EU. Therefore, the first task of the EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) on Honeybee Health was to provide technical support to the implementation of a surveillance program on honeybee colony mortality. In 2011, the European Commission (EC) started to set up and co-finance a standardised and pan-European voluntary surveillance programme to obtain reliable and accurate measure of honey bee colony losses and information on honeybee health.
The surveillance procedure foresaw to study in each participating Member State a representative number of the total population of honeybee colonies, with randomly selected apiaries in order to quantify colony losses and to investigate the prevalence of the major diseases. Epidemiological protocols were consistently implemented in each of the 17 selected Member States in order to provide comparable data (Commission implementing decision, 2012). During this study, apart from the active surveillance of colony losses (overwintering colony mortality rate, season colony mortality rate), the major honeybee diseases were surveyed: varroosis, American foulbrood (AFB), European foulbrood (EFB), nosemosis and the chronic bee paralysis. This project also ensured an early alert in case of the detection of the two exotic arthropods Aethina tumida and Tropilaelaps spp. mites.
A web-based database was created, within the framework of the project, which enabled collecting and saving data of all Member States participating to the study. Each MS has access to its own data. The EURL was in charge of the management and the analysis of the data in consultation with the European Commission and the participating Member States. This project was the opportunity for common publications between the EURL and the participating Member States.
Check out the reports from EPILOBEE first year and EPILOBEE second year on the European Commission website.