Latest News

Please find below, the latest news from the BBKA and National Bee Unit


  • Project: Bees in Schools
    on 14th June 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Free Trees for Schools and Communities Scheme The Woodland Trust is a partner of the QGC and their Free Trees for Schools and Communities Scheme is a great way to get involved with tree planting. Across 2021 and 2022 they have over three million saplings in tree packs, available on a first come first served basis. Information on how to apply for the free saplings will be available through the Woodland Trust website  from June 2021. Beekeeping can be of huge benefit to your school Yvonne Kilvington, of Ashbrow School in Huddersfield, beekeeper and school employee has kept bees onsite for the last 7 years. Her children; I can remember one young man who's confidence in the classroom was pretty low, but by spending time outside with the bees, over a number of weeks, his confidence went through the roof and had an huge impact on his work inside school. He felt good about himself as h...

  • Pests and diseases
    on 14th June 2021 at 8:29 am

    Varroa  Research led by Samuel D. Ramsey:  Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat body tissue and not hemolymph explains: Varroa destructor causes considerable damage to honey bees and subsequently the field of apiculture through just one process: feeding. For five decades, we have believed that these mites consume hemolymph like a tick consumes blood, and that Varroa cause harm primarily by vectoring viruses. Our work shows that they cause damage more directly. Varroa externally digest and consume fat body tissue rather than blood.  That's Varroa. You must be able to manage varroa in your bees, if you want to be a beekeeper. Keeping bees is like keeping other animals. Beekeepers are responsible for their well-being and must be aware of how to keep them healthy. There are many diseases of honey bees. Some of these are 'notifiable', like other livest...

  • Professor Ian Gibson PhD
    on 11th June 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Article by Tim Lovett, BBKA Past President, published in the June edition of BBKA News. Professor Ian Gibson PhD, 1938–2021 The MP who served beekeeping so well By Tim Lovett, BBKA Past President Ian Gibson passed away on Friday 9 April 2021 after a short illness. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the BBKA in 2010 in recognition of his seminal active support and encouragement to the BBKA in a period of great importance for bees and beekeeping. Indeed, he played no small role in putting beekeeping front and centre at Westminster and the country at large, and as a result, was hugely helpful in engaging with the public in getting key messages over to them. The corporate memory of the BBKA may have a number of lacunae, so it is worth revisiting Ian’s involvement and contribution. Ian Gibson graduated and obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University. A geneticist, he did post-doctoral research at Universities of Indiana and Washington before returning to the UK as a lect...

  • Swarm removal
    on 10th June 2021 at 1:35 pm

    In summer we get many calls and questions from people with bees in their houses, outbuildings and gardens.   There are over 250 types of bees in the UK but there is only one european honey bee (Apis mellifera).  As well as honey bees there are around 24 species of bumblebee and over 240 species of solitary bee in the UK.  Please see below to help identify what type of bee you have and who to approach for help and information.   If you feel you need to have the bees destroyed please contact a local reputable pest control company.  Bees are endangered but they are not protected.  Click here for the link to the Health & Safety Executive guide to Honey bees and biocides:  Our volunteers beekeepers can only assist in cases of swarms OF HONEY BEES. See our page of photos of honeybee swarms To Jump straight to the Swarm map click here To support the work of the BBKA please DONATE STEP 1: Identifying bees If the insects are not honey be...

National Bee Unit 

  • Survey on how training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers can be improved now closed
    on 20th April 2021 at 12:00 am

    With thanks to those of you who have already responded. Gyda diolch i'r rhai ohonoch sydd eisoes wedi ymateb. Defra and the Welsh Government want to ensure that beekeepers and bee farmers have access to training and information that can help them implement effective biosecurity and maintain good standards of husbandry, so as to minimise pest and disease risks and improve the sustainability of honeybee populations.A questionnaire was available for current beekeepers, people who have recently stopped keeping bees as well as bee farmers to give their views and opinions on the type, accessibility and range of training and information available and how it could be improved. The survey closed on 21 April

  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies
    on 19th April 2021 at 12:00 am

    The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas South Kent & East Sussex, South West Devon and South East Wales If you are interested in applying for the job, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs.

  • Reporting Varroa
    on 12th April 2021 at 12:00 am

    Amendments to the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006, the Bees Diseases and Pest Control (Scotland) Order 2007 and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006 come into force on the 21st of April 2021 requiring all beekeepers and/or officials in GB to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage. This amendment will allow Great Britain to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union.To make this simple, a tick box will be introduced to BeeBase, the voluntary register for beekeepers managed by the National Bee Unit. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa but an alternative mechanism will be provided for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system. Details of this alternative system will be provided after 21st April. If Scottish Beekeepers wish to, they can report varroa by contacting the Scottish Bee Health Inspectors ( Varroa is known to be widespread, it continues to be one of the most serious pests faced by beekeepers. Reporting Varroa will contribute to the overall pest and disease surveillance work of the National Bee Unit and the Scottish Bee Health Inspectorate. We are grateful for your assistance with this new simple measure.No action will be required until after 21st April.

  • 2020 Hive Count
    on 29th March 2021 at 12:00 am

    More than 10,000 beekeepers, a record number, updated their details on BeeBase during this year's hive count. There are currently more than 44,000 beekeepers registered on BeeBase, meaning that around 23% participated.This year’s hive count produced a figure of 260,268 colonies in the UK. This is slightly lower than the 2019 figure of 263,896. It is necessary to make a number of assumptions in the calculation, and so the figure is classed as an experimental statistic.The Hive Count provides a very useful indication of the number of managed colonies in the UK, and helps to ensure that BeeBase records are kept up to date. Information about numbers and location of hives is very important for National Bee Unit inspectors in terms of preparing and planning for outbreaks of disease and exotic pests.Thank you very much to everyone who has taken time to ensure that their BeeBase information is up to date.