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Current Projects

SMARTBEES: Sustainable Management of Resilient Bee Populations

The EU is funding a research project within the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) entitled “Sustainable Management of Resilient Bee Populations” or SmartBees. This is a collaborative project between 16 partner organisations ranging from universities, research institutions and companies from across Europe. In the UK, the project partner is Fera and is supported by Defra Bee Health Policy. The project commenced in November 2014 and will run for four years.

SmartBees aims to analyse the current level of genetic diversity among Europe's bees and increase it using appropriate methods. The project will also seek to understand the critical interactions between honey bees, the Varroa mite and viruses. The reasons for differences in bees' resistance capabilities will also be investigated using the most modern molecular biology methods. Breeding strategies that have proven to be very successful will be adapted for use in honey bee races that until now have been neglected. These techniques will allow these previously unexploited races to be adapted and enhanced to suit the needs of local beekeepers and enable their preservation through their utilization. Data from the European Reference Laboratory for Bee Diseases will be analysed in order to prepare for diseases and threats that are not currently problematic, but may become an issue in the future. Further information on this collaborative project can be found here: or contact Dr Maureen Wakefield ( )

Bee Pest Model Stress Testing and Optimisation of Early Interception Networks for Invasive Pests of Pollinators

We are currently in the final year of a 4 year project which aims to improve our understanding of the key triggers for Varroa reproduction and survival and how these can be integrated into an off-host culturing system for the purpose of developing rapid and cost effective screening of potential new control agents.

Achievements so far include the development of an artificial diet and delivery system for maintaining phoretic mites for periods of time to encompass bioassay exposure periods. Good progress is also being made identifying triggers that stimulate egg production and laying in an artificial environment. The collection and analysis of bee haemolymph, cuticular hydrocarbon and volatile samples aims to improve our understanding of the bee components that are critical for mite development and survival.

Antivirals in Honeybees

Viruses are an emerging problem in honeybee health management. Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) is a common virus that has become more virulent due to the introduction of Varroa and Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV) is a sporadic disease than can result in the sudden loss of a colony. There are currently no treatments for viral diseases. We are investigating compounds that inhibit viruses in honeybees. We are looking at a number of ‘medicines’ and investigating whether they can prevent or treat DWV and CBPV.

Cannot Find the Project You Were Looking For?

We also have information on our completed projects, you can access these via the completed projects page.