BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

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  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #6036  by MickBBKA
 24 Mar 2020, 00:45
Given tonight's news and I know it came late, is anyone from the BBKA able to inform us what the next steps are ? I find it quite suspicious and rather concerning that the earlier announcement on the BBKA site that the Defra minister had been contacted for guidance has had all trace removed. Have you been gagged by Defra ?
I have colonies in 5 locations and unlike the Southern BBKA usual bias, up here near Winterfell our bees are having a bloody hard time. Many keepers have had huge losses and I have several at deaths door. If I can't help them they are dead. I believe the BBKA remit is to promote beekeeping not stand by while colonies will be dying out through inaction.

This post is prompted through anxiety, worry and anger through the lack of guidance from government and the BBKA so I apologise for its tone but not its content.

Any help please ?????
 #6041  by nealh
 24 Mar 2020, 08:43
I think we should be allowed to inspect/check bees for stores/heft (weather dependant) and colony expansion as long as we are only working alone, we are just about entering in to swarm season and massive colony expansion with in 2 - 3 weeks.
In places we will see high unnecessary colony deaths and dwindling if manipulation's can't be applied.
 #6044  by NigelP
 24 Mar 2020, 16:11
MickBBKA wrote:
24 Mar 2020, 00:45
rather concerning that the earlier announcement on the BBKA site that the Defra minister had been contacted for guidance has had all trace removed. Have you been gagged by Defra ?
Yes the post is still there saying we can tend our bees. Just click on the arrow to the right of the newest post saying they are closing their offices for three weeks, next one is about swarm collection during covid....that should be fun :)

As I gather you work from home Mick you should be okay as private business. Driving is not illegal and people need vehicles attended to. Just get plenty of antiseptic wipes to wipe steering wheels etc.

I'm closed down for the foreseeable future and as I have a small pension and am not eligible for UC or anything like that. Just have to drink cheaper scotch.
I am hearing through a reliable friend that if your business is set up as company and you pay yourself a salary from the company you would be eligible to apply for the 80% salary ......which he is currently in the process of applying for. His financial advisor has warned it will take time as there are going to be a huge amount of applications.
 #6054  by Alfred
 24 Mar 2020, 20:33
if bees can contract notifiable disease then they are to be defined as livestock.
The government therefore should not stop us travelling to ensure their wellbeing .
They cannot have it both ways.

Society is already beginning show its true colours with churches being broken into and having the charity supplies stolen,ambulances vandalised and emergency services workers being coughed and spat on.
I heard today that Droitwich Traffic Wardens are still at work!!
Robbery and even looting will almost certainly begin with many premises closed down while the police are busy fining decent people.
So begins martial law.
Whistle along montypython style
Always look on the bright side of life

Im not stopping going up to my apairy until Im dead= Im not in contact with anyone else at any time.

I am expecting to be pulled over at some sort of roadside check fairly soon -Ive got my membership cert printed and a broodbox of old comb in the back.
If they want to waste their time and money prosecuting me then so be it.
 #6060  by Steve (The Drone)
 24 Mar 2020, 22:30
I'm inspecting tomorrow. All our Policemen are busy in the cities and any that venture out this way are aware of the facts of local life. It's permissible to go for exercise on your own or with one other member of your family. Hefting hives is excercise and Bees are livestock. Covered all angles.
 #6067  by AdamD
 25 Mar 2020, 09:36
It would seem reasonable if you are going by yourself to attend livestock (food production) and getting excercise, to be allowed to attend out apiaries. I think the police would be better stopping social gatherings*, fighting over toilet roll in supermarkets and keeping the numbers down on public transport than messing about with us lot!

*does that mean we are anti-social??
 #6074  by AndrewLD
 25 Mar 2020, 19:03
OK, so the definitive guidance is now out from Defra & devolved administrations, and has been sent to registered beekeepers by e-mail.
Want to know what it says? Then register :o
 #6085  by NigelP
 26 Mar 2020, 13:28
Andrew....that's a bit mean. Particularly as this is a time for all of us to pull together.
For those not registered read below.
Apologies it's quite long.

COVID-19 and Beekeeping
As beekeepers, please be aware of the following guidance when looking after your
honey bees. Updates to this guidance will be provided where necessary. You should
keep up to date with the latest guidance issued by the Government as it is subject to
regular change.
Defra, Scottish Government and the Welsh Government ask you as beekeepers to
be responsible and to ensure that you continue good beekeeping practices, effective
stock management and health checks whilst observing the Government’s guidance
on COVID-19.
You should follow Public Health guidance on social distancing. Everyone, including
beekeepers, should avoid gatherings of more than two people and this includes at
your apiary. You should maintain a distance of 2 metres between yourself and others
to limit the spread of COVID-19.
General advice for beekeepers is as follows:
 You should continue to work and care for your animals in the normal manner, as
far as possible. You should not take measures that compromise the welfare of
the animals in your care.
 You should maintain good biosecurity at your apiary.
 You should not share beekeeping equipment with other beekeepers, particularly
hive tools and other handheld devices and protective clothing.
 In line with the general advice on COVID-19, you should wash your hands for at
least 20 seconds using soap and hot water before and after you come into
contact with any animal. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
 There are currently no restrictions on the movements of bee colonies – for
example, 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.
 If you are required to visit premises other than your own, you should familiarise
yourself with the public health guidance on infection prevention and control and
take measures to minimise the risks from contaminated surfaces.
 If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms of COVID19, however mild, you should be self-isolating at home and should not be visiting
other premises. Ideally, another beekeeper should take on this duty wherever
possible. We are suggesting that local associations consider how they can
support those confined or unable to attend their bees at this difficult time for all of
 If your bees are due an inspection by a government inspector, you should be
aware that this may be subject to a delay depending on available resources
within the inspectorate.
 If your bees are due an inspection by a government inspector, and you are in a
high-risk group, or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you must let your
inspector know ahead of the inspection. Arrangements will be made that will limit
the chance of COVID-19 being spread. This may include the inspection
proceeding without the beekeeper being present or delaying the inspection.
 For all inspections, 2 metre social distancing will be considered the minimum and
so the beekeeper will not be able to stand at the hive side with the inspector while
the inspection takes place.
 Imports of bees are still permitted. There is no evidence to support restrictions to
international movement or trade in bees, and the UK has no additional rules for
bee imports with respect to COVID-19.
 You should report any suspicion of notifiable diseases or pests to the authorities
in the usual way – please see the bee health page on for further
 You should use husbandry techniques to minimise swarming. If you have to
respond to collect a swarm you need to ensure that you use the guidelines on
social distancing when collecting the swarm. If that is not possible, then the
swarm then should not be collected. Therefore trying to prevent swarms is the
best approach.
 #6086  by AndrewLD
 26 Mar 2020, 14:34
NigelP wrote:
26 Mar 2020, 13:28
Andrew....that's a bit mean. Particularly as this is a time for all of us to pull together.
Nigel - with respect, I think you are completely wrong. What's mean is that there are around 50% of beekeepers who do not register their apiaries and our bee inspector has to waste time running around following up leads to try and find these apiaries when dealing with foulbrood outbreaks - and there is a cluster of those that seem to persist in this area. On top of this he now has to chase down reports of asian hornets to try and find the nests - and for 2020 thanks to health and safety concerns concerns following a bee inspector who had to be rushed to hospital after being stung, they have to wear the full asian hornet PPE whilst searching. They are an absolute sweatbox.
And all beekeepers have to do to make his life a bit easier - is bl**dy well register :x
Some people only do something when they are motivated to by self-interest, so I thought this was an opportunity to tempt them to register. Well, you have blown that.....
Rant over :D
 #6087  by NigelP
 26 Mar 2020, 15:00
Understand the point Andrew, but there are 100's of beekeepers who are not members of any association so their chances of registering or reading this are slim to zero.
Lets not forget seasonal bee inspectors are paid to do a job that they willingly applied for.