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Published on 04/02/2014





Over the last years, increases in honeybee mortality have been reported in several countries within and outside the EU. Therefore, the first task of the EU Reference Laboratory (EU RL) on Honeybee Health was to provide technical support to 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 honeybee colony losses and information on honeybee health.

The surveillance procedure foresaw to study in each participating Member State (MS) 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 MSs 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 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 has been created, within the framework of the project, which enabled collecting and saving all the data for all participants who log from their countries. Each MS has access to its own data. The EU RL was in charge of the management and the analysis of the data in consultation with the EC and the participating MSs. This project will be the opportunity for a common publication between the EU RL and the participating MSs.


Check out the reports from EPILOBEE first year and EPILOBEE second year on the European Commission website.



  Check out the Online database of the voluntary study on honeybee colony losses