June 2019

Letter to Minister of DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) about risks to bees from pesticides presented in May 2019, by the following organisations:


Soil Association



Friends of the Earth

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Pesticide Action Network UK

And the BBKA

Importation of Bees

The British Beekeepers Association discourages the importation of queen bees and colonies from outside the UK. Bee importations into the Isle of Man have been banned already to maintain the low level of bee diseases amongst their colonies and the bees there, unlike in the mainland, are Varroa free. 

There is growing concern among beekeepers about the ever-increasing importation of bees.  A 2018 Queen Replacement Survey conducted by Defra concluded that most beekeepers prefer home-reared queens.

The BBKA recently ran a series of training courses on Queen Rearing at locations across the UK.

The BBKA supports the ban on the use of harmful pesticides

We support the ban but we must be alert to what farmers will use instead on their outdoor crops. The position of the British Beekeepers Association has long been to support the banning of these long lasting systemic pesticides, unless their use can be shown not to harm both honey and other bees as well as the environment.

Honeybee winter losses are higher than the long term average in recent years, caused by a series of factors including the environment, loss of biodiversity and pesticides. Neonicotinoids including thiacloprid and sulfoxaflor continue to be exempt from this ban.