Investigating the Transmission of AFB

Project Name

Investigating the Transmission of AFB Through Honey Bee Population in England 



Project Collaborators




Project Description


American foul brood (AFB) is a bacterial brood pathogen of the honey bee Apis mellifera that impacts on the viability of individual colonies and impacts on commercial honey production. AFB has been a persistent problem in theUK for over 60 years, with a fluctuating number of cases discovered annually. Once diseased hives are identified, they are destroyed to reduce pathogen spread. Surveillance and control is costly, both to the apiarist and also to statutory bodies concerned with regulating disease. We investigate the pattern of cases of AFB recorded over the period 1994 to 2009 using spatial statistical approaches with a view to identifying the nature of spread and possible risk factors for apiary infection. We used multiple statistical methods to repeatedly demonstrate that AFB exhibits significant spatial aggregation at distances from 10-30 km with aggregations lasting between 1 and 5 year periods. Our analyses provide the foundation to locate clusters and further investigate risk factors surrounding cluster formation.