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Further Information

The Scottish Beekeepers Association has produced a report on the current EFB outbreak and will regularly be updating their site.

Descriptions on foulbrood diseases are available from the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).

Scottish Government Bee Officers' Guidance on inspections.

Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) Beebase site

European Foul Brood Outbreak in Perthshire, Scotland – July 2009

The Scottish Government have confirmed the positive outbreak of the notifiable disease European Foul Brood (EFB) in colonies of honeybees in the Perthshire area.

EFB is caused by the bacterium Melissococcus plutonius and multiplies in the mid-gut of an infected larva and causes the larva to starve to death by competing for its food. They remain in the gut and do not invade the larval tissue; larvae that die from the disease do so because they have been starved of food. This normally occurs shortly before their cells are due to be sealed.

EFB can be spread by the beekeeper, during transfer of combs, brood or other items from an infected hive to a healthy one. However, robbing and swarms are also methods by which the disease can be transmitted.

EFB is a notifiable disease under The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Scotland) Order 2007 and is subject to official control by the examination of colonies for signs of disease and compulsory treatment or destruction of diseased colonies. Weak colonies and colonies with a high proportion of diseased brood are destroyed but lightly diseased colonies may be treated. Scottish Government Bee Officers have commenced their inspections within the relevant inspection zones.

Scottish Government Bee Officers will determine which of the three control options should be used in colonies infected with EFB:

  • the colonies may be treated with the antibiotic oxytetracycline
  • the colonies may be treated with the shook swarm husbandry method
  • the colonies may be destroyed if the colony is too heavily infected to respond to treatment, or at the beekeepers request

Beekeepers should ensure that all relevant biosecurity and bee hygiene measures are taken.

Beekeepers are encouraged to look for symptoms in their colonies and to report any suspicious finds to the Bee Officer at their local SGRPID Area Office:

AyrRussell House, King Street, Ayr, South Ayrshire,

KA8 0BG. (Tel) 01292 291 300

Dumfries161, Brooms Road, Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway,DG1 3ES. (Tel) 01387 274 400

Cotgreen Road, Tweedbank, Galashiels, Scottish Borders, TD1 3SG. (Tel) 01896 892 400


Longman House, 28 Longman Road, Inverness, IV1 1SF

(Tel) 01463 234 141

InverurieThainstone Court, Inverurie, Grampian, Aberdeenshire,

AB51 5YA. (Tel) 01467 626 222

ObanCameron House, Albany Street, Oban, PA34 4AE

(Tel) 0300 244 9340

PerthStrathearn House, Broxden Business Park, Lamberkine Drive, Perth, Perth & Kinross, PH1 1RZ

(Tel) 01738 602 000