the poor response I got from Defra...
Thank you for your email of 25 March regarding colony collapse disease. I have been asked to reply.
In the UK, scientists and inspectors at the National Bee Unit (NBU) are monitoring the situation, and are in contact with experts in the USA and in Europe to learn the latest results of research into abnormal colony mortality. The NBU has taken samples for further analysis from the few apiaries in England and Wales found this spring with unusually high colony loss for which there is no readily identifiable cause. This work will help the NBU ascertain whether there is a common cause for such losses.
The DEFRA budget for bee health research and development in 2006-07 was #200,000, which is comparable to previous years, and covers work on all pests and diseases of bees. If findings in the US or elsewhere identify a research need in the UK, the necessary resources would be found as part of our contingency response to emerging new threats.
Colony loss is known in Europe, but there is currently no reason to link high colony losses in the USA to the situation in Europe. Recent cases in Spain and Portugal seem likely to have been caused by Nosema ceranae, a spore-forming protozoan that invades the digestive tracts of bees, as well as the impact of varroa.
If a common cause for high colony loss in the USA is identified and it is pest or disease-related, it is unlikely to be imported here, as long as the rules restricting imports from third countries are respected. It is illegal to import bees from the mainland of the USA.
So...basically we are to wait for US-based research to help us IF they feel like sharing and IF it can be applied to the UK? This article (above) seems to contradict what they sent me....