2021-23 EFB: whole apiary shook swarm trial

Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI) and the National Bee Unit (NBU) continues to fund the trial of Whole Apiary Shook Swarming for 2023. The trial encourages the use of whole apiary shook swarm as a means of reducing the reoccurrence of European Foulbrood (EFB). 

The Whole Apiary Shook Swarm trial is offered for all colonies and equipment (eg frames, comb etc) stored in the infected apiary when at least one colony has been confirmed as having European foulbrood (EFB) by an Authorised Bee Inspector (ABI). 

EFB is a statutory notifiable disease of honey bees and beekeepers are legally obligated to report any suspected diseased colonies to the NBU under the Bee Diseases and Pests Control Order 2006 (as amended).

Infected colonies are normally destroyed or shook swarmed when a local bee inspector confirms EFB. Equipment and honey destroyed following this inspection can be subject to compensation provided by BDI. 

A review of BDI and NBU records shows that EFB frequently reoccurs within an infected apiary. In an attempt to break the cycle, the two organisations are working together to encourage the use of shook swarming of non-infected colonies. 

BDI is offering greater cover for the duration of the trial period – 2021-22: 

The new initiative will also apply to apiaries shared by up to three beekeepers if they are all fully insured and agree to participate. Beekeepers who chose to shook swarm all their non-infected colonies within an infected apiary will be compensated under the terms of the current scheme.  

Apiaries with more than three beekeepers are not covered by this pilot because of the bee inspector’s logistical difficulties in contacting all owners within the time they have available. 


The NBU and BDI will analyse the results in general and the re-occurrence rates in particular at the end of the study. These will be used to assist in the guidance issued for dealing with EFB in future. 

For more information about how the Whole Apiary Shook Swarm pilot, click here.

Photo credit:  Crown copyright