On 21st April, 2021 an amendment to the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006 and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2021 comes into force requiring beekeepers and/or officials to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage. Reporting will be for each apiary site. This amendment will allow England and Wales to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union. Similar arrangements are being made in Scotland.
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 allow beekeepers and inspectors to report the presence or absence of Varroa. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa. We are currently working on an alternative mechanism for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system and aim to share this before 21st April.
No action will be required until after 21st April.
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.
How can training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers be improved? Have your say by taking our survey.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 short questionnaire is 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. It should take no more than 15 minutes.
Please go to https://eu5se.voxco.com/S2/87/healthy_bees/ to complete the survey by 21 April.
Defnyddiwch y ddolen hon i gwblhau'r arolwg erbyn 21/04/2021.
Please encourage beekeepers and bee farmers to complete the survey.
We are aware of some issues in the following areas of BeeBase.
- eLearning (Fixed on 15th March 2021)
- Entering of personal beekeeping records - (Update 25th March - We are sorry but BeeBase no longer supports this functionality)
Due to planned maintenance of our servers, BeeBase will be unavailable between 09:00 and 13:00 on Tuesday 16th February 2021.
Normal service will be resumed after this time.
Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and adviceUnderstanding how turnover (“churn”) among beekeepers can be managed and review information sources, learning methods and use of social media, to develop resources to support the beekeeping sector.
Defra and Welsh Government have commissioned a social science study to gather information about different aspects of education and training. This includes getting a better understanding of how the turnover of beekeepers can be managed. It will also review information sources, learning methods and use of social media. The third part of the project will evaluate current continuous professional development schemes and resources to support bee farmers. The study which has just begun, has been contracted to ICF Consulting who have carried out a number of research projects in other areas for Defra. We are hoping that many beekeepers will participate in the project which will include a survey and further details will be announced soon.
This work links into the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, working together to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.
This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:
Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.
If you have any queries please contact:
For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.
Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.
For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167
It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.
Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.
For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167
Following a recent recruitment process Julian Parker has been appointed as Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU) within Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Within the NBU Julian has previously been Acting Head as well as National Bee Inspector and before that Regional Bee Inspector for Southern and South East Regions. Julian has over 12 years operational experience with the NBU including leading outbreak situations. Julian is also well known in the wider beekeeping community and his expertise is highly respected across Defra and Welsh Government as well as with Bee Health stakeholders. He has also played a key role in the review of the 2020 Healthy Bees Plan and will now play a significant role in delivering the Healthy Bee Plan 2030. Many congratulations Julian.
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