NBU BeeBase News Feed

  1. The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) (Amendment) Order 2021, The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2021 and The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Scotland) Amendment Order 2021 make Varroa a reportable pest effective 21st April 2021. To find out how you can report varroa please visit https://www.nationalbeeunit.com/public/BeeDiseases/report-varroa.cfm
  2. The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy advertised in South Kent & East Sussex area.
    If you are interested in applying for this job, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs here
    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Sandra Gray (Regional Bee Inspector for South East) – 07775119430, Sandra.gray@apha.gov.uk.
  3. The National Bee Unit currently has two Regional Bee Inspector (RBI) vacancies advertised in the Western and Central Regions.
    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs here
    If you have any questions regarding these positions, please contact Cristina Ruiz (National Bee Inspector) – 07976242798, Cristina.Ruiz@apha.gov.uk.
  4. The National Bee Unit has vacancies for 2 Seasonal Bee Inspectors (SBI) in the East of England and preferably Norfolk, South Cambridgeshire, North Hertfordshire, and North Essex areas. If you are interested in applying for the job, please follow this link.

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Peter Davies (Regional Bee Inspector covering  Eastern Region) Peter.Davies@apha.gov.uk / 07900292160 or Cristina Ruiz (National Bee Inspector) – 07976242798 / Cristina.Ruiz@apha.gov.uk.
  5. 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
  6. 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.


  7. 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 (BeesMailbox@gov.scot).

    Although 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 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.   It took no more than 15 minutes to complete.

    Please encourage beekeepers and bee farmers to complete the survey.

    ***This survey closed on 21 April 2021***


  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. Understanding 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.
  13. 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.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. If you have sent an email to nbu@apha.gov.uk between the 10th November and the 16th November, due to a system failure your message has not been received. Please resend your messages, we apologise for the inconvenience.
  17. Defra, Welsh Government and the National Bee Unit have worked with stakeholders to produce a review of progress made under the Healthy Bees Plan, a ten-year plan introduced in 2009 to improve honey bee health across England and Wales. Following this review, a new plan entitled the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 has been published today to carry on this important work.

    Welcoming the new plan, Nicola Spence, Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health at Defra, said:

    I am delighted that today we are publishing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 which is Defra’s and Welsh Government’s joint framework for continued action to improve honey bee health in England and Wales over the next ten years. Protecting our honey bees is vital because of the benefits they bring through pollination of flowers and crops, honey production and our well-being. Bee health stakeholders have had a key role in developing this new Healthy Bees Plan and we look forward to continuing to work together as we implement the plan.

    Ceri Witchard, Deputy Director for Land, Nature and Forestry at Welsh Government, said:

    The Healthy Bees Plan 2009 was published with the aim of achieving a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Wales and England. Our overall aim has not changed. However, the experiences we have gained and the relationships we have built within the Bee Health Advisory Forum now put us in a firmer position to face new risks and challenges to honey bees. I am grateful to the Forum and other stakeholders for their commitment and contributions in developing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030.
  18. The 2020 Hive Count launches today (2nd November)

    It is time to update your BeeBase records with the total number of overwintering hives as of 1st November 2020. You can do this by clicking this link to update your Hive Count: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/secure/beekeeper/hiveCensus.cfm

    More details of this project, its importance and why we need your help can be found at:
    http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=362



  19. Defra, Welsh Government and the National Bee Unit have worked with stakeholders to produce a review of progress made under the Healthy Bees Plan, a ten-year plan introduced in 2009 to improve honey bee health across England and Wales.

    Healthy Bees Plan Review

    Healthy Bees Plan Review - Welsh Version
  20. Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    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
  21. An Asian hornet nest in an apple tree was killed near Gosport, Hampshire on Friday 11th September.  The nest was small, approximately 20cm in diameter and monitoring will continue in the area.

    Further information regarding the Asian hornet can be found on our Asian hornet page on BeeBase and on Defra's 2020 Asian Hornet sightings page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.
  22. 7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
    A new blog by the National Bee Unit on Asian Hornet has just been published here
    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.
  23. Beekeepers and members of the public were today asked to remain vigilant after an Asian hornet was spotted in the Gosport area of Hampshire.

    Further information regarding the Asian hornet can be found on our Asian hornet page of BeeBase and on Defra's news page.  Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.
  24. 7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
    You can help our UK pollinators by being able to identify Asian Hornets and reporting your sightings. Please refer to the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat’s recently updated identification sheet.
    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.
  25. 7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week

    The Welsh Beekeeping Association hosted a webinar by Frank Gellatly, the Regional Bee Inspector for Wales during Asian hornet week.  The presentation covers Asian Hornet identification, the Asian Hornet in France, incursions into England, the response including track and trace and the future, including Asian Hornet Teams in Wales.

    A recording of the webinar is available here

    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.
  26. 7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
    Presentations on Asian Hornet Biology and Asian Hornet Genetics by Fera Science Ltd. are available online.
    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.

  27. 7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
    A new video showing a hornet processing a bee and helpful tips on identification is now available 
    Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.

  28. Bee Inspectors across the UK are reporting that many colonies are in need of food where honey has been harvested and nectar availability is reduced. Where starvation is a risk, replacement food needs to be provided.

    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. Sugar syrup should be made with 1kg of sugar to 650ml of warm water or a commercially ready-made bee syrup can be given.

    For further information, please see the Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar
  29. Bees’ Needs Week is a campaign co-ordinated by Defra to raise awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators, and to provide practical advice on what we can all do to support them. Many organisations are working together to encourage everyone who can, to do simple things at home - like growing more flowers and cutting grass less often - to help our precious pollinators thrive, and to engage further with nature through citizen science initiatives.
    There’s more information on the Bees’ Needs Website. Throughout the week a variety of content will be shared online including:
    • Why bees are important animation
    • Day in the life of a beekeeper video
    • Educational resources including bumble bee identification
    • Information on the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme
    Get involved with Bees’ Needs Week on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #BeesNeeds
  30. The VMD would like to remind beekeepers of their responsibilities and duty to comply with the VMR and VMD guidance. A veterinary medicine must be administered in accordance with its marketing authorisation, which in practice means you must follow the instructions in the package leaflet unless directed otherwise by your vet.

    Read the full VMD Communication
  31. The National Bee Unit is pleased to share a range of presentations created by Fera Science Ltd. presented by Kirsty Stainton on;
    Asian Hornet Biology
    Asian Hornet Genetics
    European foulbrood

    The presentations can be found on BeeBases pages on Asian hornet and Foulbrood.
    Please do contact us with your feedback.
  32. Scottish beekeepers; please read the attached information note from Scottish Government.

    DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES PROVIDED BY SASA DURING COVID-19 CRISIS
  33. Please find updated Covid-19 beekeeping guidance with official logos for England, Wales and Scotland.  The updated guidance has an amended paragraph which reads:

    There are currently no restrictions on movements of bee colonies that you are managing, such as moving bees to fulfil pollination contracts. However, you should observe the public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when carrying out these activities, including the guidance on social distancing and essential travel.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v2

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v2
  34. Please see the below guidance from the bee health policy teams in England, Wales and Scotland regarding beekeeping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v2

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v2

    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


  35. The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas. If you are interested in applying for the job, please use the links below and contact the relevant Regional Bee Inspector for any queries regarding the position.

    South East – Kent
    North East – East and West Yorkshire
    Southern – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Hampshire
    Eastern - North Cambridgeshire, South Lincs & West Norfolk

  36. Please be aware that we will shortly being upgrading our eLearning platform and as a result any information relating to previously completed training will be lost. We would therefore advise that if you wish to retain a record of your training, that you download this information and any certificates, before the end of February.

  37. The National Bee Unit has a vacancy for a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) in the Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Merthyr Tydfil area. If you are interested in applying for the job, please follow this link.

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Frank Gellatly (Regional Bee Inspector for Wales) - 01267 202 732/07775 119 480 - francis.gellatly@apha.gov.uk

    ---

    Mae gan Yr Uned Wenyn Genedlaethol swydd wag ar gyfer Arolygydd Gwenyn Tymhorol (SBI) yn ardalAbertawe, Castell-Nedd Port Talbot, Merthyr Tudful. Os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn gwneud cais ar gyfer y swydd, dilynwch y ddolen ganlynol.

    Os bydd gennych unrhyw gwestiynau ynglyn â'r swydd, cysylltwch â Frank Gellatly (Arolygydd Gwenyn Rhanbarthol Cymru) - 01267 202732 / 07775 119480 - francis.gellatly@apha.gov.uk
  38. The RSS news feed issue has been resolved - apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.
  39. Don’t forget we need you to update your colony records on BeeBase by 31st December. You can do this by clicking this link to update your Hive Count: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/secure/beekeeper/hiveCensus.cfm

    More details of this project, its importance and why we need your help can be found on the Hive Count page of BeeBase.

    If you have any further questions, please contact us at Hive.Count@apha.gov.uk
  40. A second Asian Hornet nest was destroyed near Christchurch, Dorset on Friday 11th October. It is likely to be a primary nest, related to the nest destroyed the previous week. Genetic analysis will be carried out to investigate relatedness between the nests.

    We continue to ask beekeepers and the general public to remain vigilant and report any suspect sightings using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’, by filling out an online reportform or by emailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.
  41. On Friday 4th October a nest was destroyed following the confirmed sighting of an Asian hornet near Christchurch, Dorset after it was reported by a member of the public.

    We continue to ask beekeepers and the general public to remain vigilant and report suspect sightings using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’, by filling out an online report form or by emailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk .

    Further information can be found here.
  42. Following the new case of Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) confirmed in June in the province of Syracuse in Sicily the European Commission published safeguard measures on Tuesday 10th September. Further details of the surveillance in Italy can be found on the Italian National Reference Laboratory website.

    UK authorities remain active in preparing and monitoring for the Small hive beetleand this summer a contingency training exercise was run by the National Bee Unit (NBU) in Wales with the Welsh Government to train Inspectors on plans and protocols.
  43. The National Bee Unit destroyed an Asian hornet nest near Tamworth, Staffordshire on Friday 6th September. A further sighting was reported in a new location by a member of the public of an Asian Hornet south west of Ashford, Kent, this single hornet has been captured. Surveillance continues in both areas.

    This week is the British Beekeepers Association’s Asian Hornet Week and we encourage Beekeepers and members of the public to watch for Asian hornets in their apiaries, on fallen fruit and on flowering plants such as ivy.

    A summary of all Asian hornet sightings in the UK during 2019 can be found here, along with how to report sightings.
  44. The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of an Asian hornet near Tamworth, Staffordshire, after it was reported by a member of the public.

    We continue to ask beekeepers and the general public to remain vigilant and report suspect sightings using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’, by filling out an online report formor by emailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk .

    Further information can be found here.
  45. Due to an IT problem there may be a delay in processing some Beebase registrations. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. This issue is now resolved.
  46. DNA barcoding analysis of a suspect sample of Osmia spp. from Turkey has confirmed it to be a native UK species of leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis.

    The UK has a diverse variety of native bees and we encourage members of the public to seek identification of bee species through the many groups and societies with a particular interest in entomology such as; The ‘BWARS’ (Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Society) Facebook page, https://www.royensoc.co.uk/identifying-insects or https://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/identify-nature.html. Sightings may be recorded with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology; https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record.

    We encourage the reporting of non-native species identified by interest groups or members of the public. Guidance on where to report this information can be found on the GB Non-native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS) website (www.nonnativespecies.org/recording). The Government will then take action in accordance with the GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy to minimise the risks they pose to our flora and fauna. We encourage everyone who travels abroad to check luggage especially if it has been kept outside during their trip. If you do spot a stowaway upon your return to the UK you should report it with the dates and places you went on holiday, and ideally a photo of the insect via the GB NNSS website.
  47. The National Bee Unit has today (Wednesday 3 July 2019) confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire, after it was reported by a member of the public. Based upon visual examination, the hornet is likely to be a queen.

    Further information can be found here.

  48. The Italian authorities have notified the Commission of the reoccurrence of Small Hive Beetle in Sicily in the Siracusa area. The EU will be discussing changes to the safeguard measure at the next SCOPAFF on 8/9 July.
  49. We are having a few enquiries from beekeepers with Gmail accounts regarding our emails not being received.

    Please add nbu@beebaseadmin.fera.co.uk to your safe senders list to try get our emails past the junk filtering system, as this is the address the automated emails are sent from.

    Some beekeepers have also told us that they found the automated emails in a different junk folder, once they logged in to their Gmail account on a desktop computer.

    Please try these methods and if you still experience issues contact the NBU Office: nbuoffice@apha.gov.uk
  50. The National Bee Unit has been receiving a large amount of calls regarding honey bee swarms. Please note that we do not deal with swarms, however, you may find the following advice useful in re-directing your enquiry:

    First of all it is important to establish what sort of insect it is. Usually, beekeepers are only willing to assist with honey bees. The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) website holds list of volunteer Swarm Collectors and has a very useful identification and guidance page.