EFB: BDI & CB Dennis Trust grant

October 2019 - BDI & CB Dennis Trust announce the awarding of a major grant for research into European Foul Brood (EFB)

The CB Dennis British Beekeepers Research Trust and Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd are delighted to announce the awarding of funding to Dr Peter Graystock and Dr Richard Gill of Imperial College London and Dr Sophie Evison of the University of Nottingham for a project to investigate the transmission of the honey bee disease European Foul Brood (EFB).

Maintaining a healthy honey bee population is crucial for food security and preservation of the natural ecosystem service of pollination. European foul brood (EFB) is a disease of honey bee brood caused by the bacterium Melissococcus plutonius. Symptomatic infections of the larvae include the infected larvae losing their internal pressure, becoming flaccid, before ultimately dying and degrading to just a dark scale in the brood cell. This lethal effect on developing individuals has led it to be considered one of the most significant diseases of honey bees worldwide and responsible for substantial damage to the beekeeping industry. Yet to date, we are only just beginning to understand the transmission and triggers of EFB.

This project will look at these transmission routes and triggers of EFB with the ultimate aim of providing a better understanding and improved control over this disease.

Jointly the two organisations will be providing around £90,000 of funding over three years to support the PhD student research – emphasising that the beekeeping industry as a whole is serious about funding research into ensuring that we maintain a healthy honey bee population.

Martin Smith, President of BDI said: “BDI is pleased to be able to fund this project. EFB is of great concern to our 180 member associations in turn to their 25,000 beekeeping members. As well as insuring against costs associated with disease, funding research to try and reduce its incidence is a clear aim of our organisation”

Simon Baker, the Chair of the CB Dennis Trust said: “The Trustees are very pleased to jointly fund this valuable research. Cooperating in this way helps us fund larger projects such as Studentships, which train the next generation of research scientists as well as helping better understand bee diseases.”

Dr Peter Graystock said: “This studentship will provide valuable insight into one of the most destructive honeybee diseases. We are incredibly excited that The CB Dennis British Beekeepers Research Trust, and Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd recognised the importance of this work and agreed to fund the studentship.”