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Recent News Items


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September 2021 - Asian Hornet Week

6-10 September is Asian Hornet Week
Two new presentations on the Asian hornet diet and Asian hornet nests in the UK by Dr Eleanor Jones are now available.
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone or Android or report it here.



September 2021 - Asian Hornet Week

6-10 September is Asian Hornet Week
See the Hunt for Asian hornets blog by Meg Seymour and Gordon Bull here
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone or Android or report it here.



September 2021 - Asian Hornet Week

6-10 September is Asian Hornet Week
See an update presentation about Asian Hornet from Nigel Semmence here
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone or Android or report it here.



September 2021 - Asian Hornet Week

6-10 September is Asian Hornet Week
Please see the newly updated Asian Hornet Monitoring leaflet here.  The simplified designs are easier to make, to help you monitor for Asian hornet in your area.
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone or Android or report it here.



September 2021 - Asian Hornet Week

6-10 September is Asian Hornet Week
BeeBase will feature new and updated information about Asian Hornet throughout the week. Improve your identification skills by reading about commonly misidentified insects or downloading an identification sheet.
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Android or iPhone or report it here.



July 2021 - Varroa a reportable pest

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



July 2021 - Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy

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.



July 2021 - Regional Bee Inspector (RBI) vacancies

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.



June 2021 - Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies

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.



April 2021 - Survey on how training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers can be improved now closed

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



April 2021 - Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies

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.




April 2021 - Reporting Varroa

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.



March 2021 - 2020 Hive Count

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.



March 2021 - 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 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***




March 2021 - Bee Base Issues - eLearning & personal beekeeping records (resolved)

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)



February 2021 - BeeBase Downtime

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.



January 2021 - Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and advice

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.



January 2021 - COVID-19 and Beekeeping update

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


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