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.”

1914-18 and 1939-46 – during the two world wars, the BBKA made successful representations to government to secure extra sugar rations for beekeepers, as honey was recognised as an important foodstuff.

1960 - a new Constitution was adopted, after 17 years of heated discussion between the various county associations and membership factions and their representatives. However, fortunately the post-war years proved to be boom years for beekeeping and in 1953 there were 80,000 beekeepers in England and Wales with 396,000 colonies.

1990 - marked the arrival of the varroa mite in the UK, which had a major adverse impact on bee colonies and many beekeepers gave up beekeeping in the 1990s, because there appeared to be no effective treatment. Some years later, pyrethroid treatments were developed, but the mites have developed resistance to these treatments and other forms of control of this parasite have been developed and applied. The Foulbrood diseases continue to be a problem, but beekeepers are better educated to recognise these diseases and call in the Government Bee Inspectors to eradicate each outbreak.

90s - Membership of the BBKA dropped from 15,000 in 1990 to just under 9,000 in 2001. This was primarily due to many people giving up beekeeping because varroa control was difficult and a difficulty in encouraging new members or reflecting the importance of honey bees to the environment. 

00s - Pesticides became an increasing concern and lobbying was undertaken by BBKA to the UK Government to spend more on honeybee research and a fund of £9.5 million was established.

Time of writing - BBKA membership stands at a strong 25,000+ but with the uncertain future of beekeeping owing to the various threats including climate change, pesticides and the possible incursion of Asian Hornet, honey bees and beekeepers are grateful of your support.