Doing our bit

In 1874 –the British Beekeepers‟ Association (BBKA) was instituted "For the Encouragement, Improvement and Advancement of Bee Culture in the United Kingdom, particularly as a means of bettering the Condition of Cottagers and the Agricultural Labouring Classes, as well as the advocacy of humanity to the industrious labourer – the Honey Bee." In 1890,its governing body comprised its President, Vice-Presidents and Officers being the Presidents of its 26 affiliated County Associations, the vast majority being peers of the realm. How things have changed since that Victorian era.

In 1922, the bee research unit (NBU) at the Rothamsted Experimental Station was established as a consequence of BBKA lobbying. It was not until 1942 that the Foul Brood Order was published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, making those diseases notifiable and subject to inspection.

Ivor Davis, 2008

There is a long-established honey-bee health programme delivered by the NBU. Through this programme, the Government have a good understanding of pest and disease risks in honey bees and long-term trends in infection rates in colonies across England (and Wales). The programme has been effective in reducing pests and disease risks in honey bees and was expanded in 2009 by implementation of the 10 year Healthy Bees Plan. This focuses on improving beekeepers’ skills in managing pests and diseases, particularly the Varroa mite, and emerging risks such as the small hive beetle and the Asian hornet. In addition, revised policies to further strengthen our response to honey bee pest and diseases were introduced in summer 2014 following Defra’s 2012 review.

Research and Advocacy today

BeeConnected (nee Spray Liason) is a database of farmers and beekeepers which send out alerts when crop spraying has been scheduled so the beekeepers can protect their hives from spray drift.

If you are a Researcher and need help in the form of a Grant please fill out our Application form here.