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European Union (EU) Legislation

At the European level, the Directive on animal health requirements for trade in bees is called the 'Balai Directive' 92/65/EEC, and lists American foul brood (AFB), the Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) and Tropilaelaps mites as notifiable pests and diseases throughout the EU. The directive lays down the provisions for intra-Community trade in bees, and essentially requires that consignments of bees moved between Member States be accompanied by an original health certificate (valid 10 days) confirming freedom from disease. In December 2003, the European Commission introduced new legislation that strengthened the controls and certification requirements for importation of bees from outside the EU. Commission Decision 2003/881/EC, now replaced by Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010, sets out the health certification requirements for imports from Third Countries. These include the requirement that:
  1. Imports of honeybees (Apis mellifera) will only be allowed into the Community from those third countries listed in Part 1 to the Annex of Council Decision 79/542, provided that the 3 notifiable diseases of bees in the EU - American foul brood disease (AFB); Aethina tumida (small hive beetle); and Tropilaelaps spp. (Tropilaelaps mites) - are also confirmed as notifiable diseases throughout the exporting country.
  2. The bees must come from an area that is not affected by these notifiable diseases.
  3. The bees have been inspected and certified as being free of diseases, including notifiable diseases and infestations affecting bees.
  4. Imports from the listed third countries will be restricted to consignments of queen bees and attendant workers only. Each queen bee must be contained in a single cage and accompanied by no more than 20 attendant worker bees.
  5. Imports of package bees are prohibited.
The importation of queen honeybees (and attendant worker bees) to the UK will be permitted from those third countries that can meet the provisions of Commission Decision 2003/881/EC.


Commission Regulation (EU) No 810/2010

For the official journal of the European Union Commission Regulation laying down lists of third countries, territories or parts thereof authorised for the introduction into the European Union of certain animals and fresh meat and the veterinary certification requirements, click here.


Veterinary Checks Directives

Directive 90/425/EEC covers veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-community trade in certain live animals and products between Member States of the EU and eliminates the need for veterinary checks at frontiers on certain animals, including bees, and provides instead for a system of intensified checks at points of origin (inspections of colonies) and spot checks at places of destination (documentary checks etc.). Directive 91/496/EEC covers inter-community trade with Third Countries, i.e. non-EU states.