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Plain Speaking about the Asian Hornet

In the April 2023 BBKA News Andrew Durham from Cambridgeshire BKA reviews the current situation regarding Asian hornets in France and concludes that…

“When and wherever the Asian hornet gets a foothold over here, it will happen quicker than you think, and it is going to be worse than you think. That much is already clear from what has happened across the Channel over the last eighteen years”

He has prepared some briefing notes, which include information about methods for reducing the impact of the hornets on bee colonies, you can access these by using the links below.

Asian Hornet The Beekeepers’ Guide – Integrated Control in the Apiary  

Asian Hornet Beekeepers Guide – The Hornet & The Honey Bee

Asian Hornet Beekeepers Guide – Integrated Control in the Area Around the Apiary

New Beginners Training Course Now Booking

For 2023 we have restructured our beginners’ training. The course is in three parts:

Early summer: Taster session at an association apiary

Throughout the summer: Apiary visits with an experienced beekeeper

Autumn/Winter: Theory Course

We are now booking places for the Taster session, for more information and sign-up form, see our Learn About Beekeeping page.

Get your BBKA Membership Number

A message from Linda Schofield at BBKA:

Officers are often asked to supply members with their membership numbers, for a variety of reasons, including for example access to the BBKA News Archive. We have now set up a simple link to enable members to be informed by email of their membership number Retrieve Member Number. This link will send an email to the member if they are an active (or awaiting renewal) member on eR2.

BBKA Honey Petition

The BBKA is asking Associations and their members (and members of the public) to support their new honey petition which calls on the Government to change the Honey labelling rules so consumers can easily recognise all countries of origin of the honey contained in a jar sold here in the UK.

You can sign the petition here:

Here is some background information from BBKA explaining why this is important:

Following our members’ propositions and direction at the 2021 ADM, this is the second honey petition in our efforts to maintain pressure on the government to address this important issue. If you signed the first petition, please be sure to sign this one too.

The important underlying issue here is ‘Funny’ Honey – i.e  honey that has not necessarily involved a honeybee collecting nectar, processing and storing in the hive.   Supermarket own-label honey can be bought for as little as 69p a jar. Although supermarkets say every jar of honey is “100% pure” and can be traced back to the beekeeper, there is no requirement to identify the countries of origin of honey blended from more than one country.  We want consumers to start looking at the labels when buying honey – does it clearly state the country of origin? If it seems cheap compared to the other honeys on the shelf, ask themselves why?

We kindly ask all members to share the petition link with family and friends and on social media to help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures which means the Government must consider the issue for debate in Parliament.   The support of the general public and not just the beekeeping community is essential to achieve this result so please share as widely as possible.   Associations and individuals that use Social media can also ‘share’ the BBKA social media pages below to create awareness and to share the link.

BBKA and YBKA Support petition to stop the importation of honey bees into GB from the EU via Northern Ireland

This petition has been on the web since September but is gaining little traction.

Both BBKA and YBKA encourage all members to sign this petition.

The BBKA says “The problem is that at least one beekeeping business has said that they want to import bees to the UK through Northern Ireland. The bees they are sourcing come from southern Italy where a serious invasive species and parasite of bees, the Small Hive Beetle is established. The inspections on bees are extremely limited and we are fearful that a small, clubbed antenna, beetle will be able to evade their scrutiny and be imported to the mainland.” 

You can sign the petition here:

You are also encouraged to write to your MP regarding this issue, emphasising the following points:

  1. The current regulation bans the importation of bees. The use of transhipment via import to Eire and then into Northern Ireland is a flagrant misuse of the post Brexit arrangements. 2.The inspection of packages of bees for pests is difficult as packages are large numbers (10,000+) of bees in a transport box. Small Hive Beetles are black and about one third of the size of a honeybee.
  2. From National Bee Unit Website 31/12/20 A further outbreak in Sicily in June 2019 meant that the ban on exports from Italy was reintroduced for Sicily. The safeguard measure for both Sicily and Calabria have been extended to April 2021. The prohibition on exports to the UK from these two regions continues after the end of the transitional period.
  3. This is a major risk not only to honeybees but to the environment in general. SHB is native to Africa but has become endemic in the Southern USA and looks likely to become widespread in southern Europe unless severe action is taken. SHB is yet another pest that will pose a threat to bees on top of a now endemic parasite Varroa and the ongoing risk of
    the Asian Hornet. (Now firmly established in Europe and which has managed to jump to the UK on occasion but thankfully has been eradicated and not allowed to become established). The beekeeping associations from all around the UK agree that the importation of bees from overseas especially from an area with an invasive species is totally against best practices for the protection of our environment.