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Identifying the climatic drivers of honey bee disease in England and Wales

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ben RowlandORCiD, Professor Stephen Rushton, Dr Mark ShirleyORCiD, Professor Giles Budge



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s).Honey bee colony health has received considerable attention in recent years, with many studies highlighting multifactorial issues contributing to colony losses. Disease and weather are consistently highlighted as primary drivers of colony loss, yet little is understood about how they interact. Here, we combined disease records from government honey bee health inspections with meteorological data from the CEDA to identify how weather impacts EFB, AFB, CBP, varroosis, chalkbrood and sacbrood. Using R-INLA, we determined how different meteorological variables influenced disease prevalence and disease risk. Temperature caused an increase in the risk of both varroosis and sacbrood, but overall, the weather had a varying effect on the six honey bee diseases. The risk of disease was also spatially varied and was impacted by the meteorological variables. These results are an important step in identifying the impacts of climate change on honey bees and honey bee diseases.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rowland BW, Rushton SP, Shirley MDF, Brown MA, Budge GE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2021

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 09/11/2021

Acceptance date: 26/10/2021

Date deposited: 17/06/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Research


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01495-w

PubMed id: 34754028


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Funder referenceFunder name
BB/R00482X/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)