National Bee Unit Beebase advice  about COVID-19 and Beekeeping

It is suggested you print out and carry a copy when going to tend your bees at your BeeBase registered apiaries.

Updated version with Logos

As well as social distancing and apiary hygiene advice please note the following paragraph

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, 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 us.

If you are not registered with Beebase, or have apiaries that are not registered then please do so. 

Update 26th June 2020

The changes on 4th July to the social distancing may mean that some beekeeping activities can now go ahead - BUT there will be certain restrictions needed and people will need to continue to follow government advice.

This will be down to individual associations and their branches to carry out risk assessments and make these decisions. 
Do not feel pressured into running any training or courses if your apiary management have concerns. 

The government has this page which lists five steps to go through.    

This site has lots of information


Your apiary is a place of work for your volunteers

  • Before restarting work, organisations must ensure the safety of their workplace by carrying out a risk assessment in line with HSE guidance.  
  • In returning to work, the government has provided guidelines for workplaces   

    Open air activities:
  • Ensure distancing as per the government's advice:
    This can be done by putting up signs or using floor tape to remind everyone about the social distancing measures. Avoiding shared workstations and equipment.  Arrange one-way traffic through the workplace.  
  • Ensure the government's advice is followed on distancing.
  • Stagger arrival and departure times. 
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘partnering.’ 
  • Reduce the number of people in the apiary. Consider how many people can safely be round a hive at the correct distancing.
  • Avoid sharing personal protective equipment - do not borrow bee suits. Suits should be cleaned after each use.
  • Dispose of used gloves safely. 

24 March 2020

BBKA Chair Anne Rowberry says: "Bees are livestock and should be tended.

"You may visit your bees for welfare purposes such as for checking feed or queen cell preparation. 

"You must take into account social distancing and safe access. Also swarming, please do not go into houses, roofs etc, or go through houses to reach swarms.

"We are working with DEFRA. NBU inspectors will still inspect if you have disease concerns."

Extraction of honey 

With obvious precautions such as not extraction or tending your bees whilst you have symptoms of Covid-19
there is advice for food businesses on the Government website.

' Key safety points include being fit for work, washing hands and wearing aprons or other clean clothing as appropriate. '

You may also like to how to adapt food manufacturing during Covid-19.

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