There are a number of diseases affecting bees, some more serious than others. They are not infectious to humans but dangerous for the bee. Certain bee diseases are even notifiable to the Government.

The most serious are AFB (American Foul Brood) and EFB (European Foul Brood), which affect the larva in the hive. These are normally treated by destroying the colony by burning it. If left alone, the disease can spread throughout out the whole apiary and affect surrounding beekeepers. Spores from AFB can remain dormant for over 50 years in old beekeeping equipment and cause problems decades later.


Many hives are affected by varroa, a mite that attaches to the body of the honeybee and sucks up bodily fluids weakening the bee and there are conflicting ideas on how to combat them. Some beekeepers believe that bees can develop a natural resistance to the mite and refuse to treat believing that the colonies that survive will naturally acquire resistance. Other beekeepers monitor varroa levels in the hive and treat with oxalic acid. 

Varroa can infect bees with a nasty virus called deformed wing virus. 

There is also something called a wax moth which,  as the name suggests, are attracted to the comb in the hive and in stored frames and can make them unusable for the bees. 

Asian Hornets 

The most alarming threat to honey bees in the UK right now is the Asian Hornet nests that have been found on Mainland Britain. Asian Hornets are voracious eaters of insects and of honeybees which they pick off as they fly out of the hive. They decapitate the honey bee and take their bodies back to their nests to be fed to their larvae. In Europe, up to 60% of bee colonies are wiped out when Asian Hornets arrive in an area.  Please see here to learn how to help beekeepers by being aware of them and keeping an eye out.