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Recent News Items


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November 2020 - Julian Parker – Head of APHA’s National Bee Unit.

Following a recent recruitment process Julian Parker has been appointed as Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU) within Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Within the NBU Julian has previously been Acting Head as well as National Bee Inspector and before that Regional Bee Inspector for Southern and South East Regions. Julian has over 12 years operational experience with the NBU including leading outbreak situations. Julian is also well known in the wider beekeeping community and his expertise is highly respected across Defra and Welsh Government as well as with Bee Health stakeholders. He has also played a key role in the review of the 2020 Healthy Bees Plan and will now play a significant role in delivering the Healthy Bee Plan 2030. Many congratulations Julian.



November 2020 - Email issues

If you have sent an email to nbu@apha.gov.uk between the 10th November and the 16th November, due to a system failure your message has not been received. Please resend your messages, we apologise for the inconvenience.



November 2020 - Healthy Bees Plan 2030 Published

Defra, Welsh Government and the National Bee Unit have worked with stakeholders to produce a review of progress made under the Healthy Bees Plan, a ten-year plan introduced in 2009 to improve honey bee health across England and Wales. Following this review, a new plan entitled the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 has been published today to carry on this important work.

Welcoming the new plan, Nicola Spence, Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health at Defra, said:

I am delighted that today we are publishing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 which is Defra’s and Welsh Government’s joint framework for continued action to improve honey bee health in England and Wales over the next ten years. Protecting our honey bees is vital because of the benefits they bring through pollination of flowers and crops, honey production and our well-being. Bee health stakeholders have had a key role in developing this new Healthy Bees Plan and we look forward to continuing to work together as we implement the plan.

Ceri Witchard, Deputy Director for Land, Nature and Forestry at Welsh Government, said:

The Healthy Bees Plan 2009 was published with the aim of achieving a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Wales and England. Our overall aim has not changed. However, the experiences we have gained and the relationships we have built within the Bee Health Advisory Forum now put us in a firmer position to face new risks and challenges to honey bees. I am grateful to the Forum and other stakeholders for their commitment and contributions in developing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030.



November 2020 - Healthy Bees Plan Review Published


Defra, Welsh Government and the National Bee Unit have worked with stakeholders to produce a review of progress made under the Healthy Bees Plan, a ten-year plan introduced in 2009 to improve honey bee health across England and Wales.

Healthy Bees Plan Review

Healthy Bees Plan Review - Welsh Version



November 2020 - The National Hive Count 2020

The 2020 Hive Count launches today (2nd November)

It is time to update your BeeBase records with the total number of overwintering hives as of 1st November 2020. You can do this by clicking this link to update your Hive Count: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/secure/beekeeper/hiveCensus.cfm

More details of this project, its importance and why we need your help can be found at:
http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=362




October 2020 - COVID-19 and Beekeeping update

Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.

Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

If you have any queries please contact:

For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot



September 2020 - Asian hornet nest killed in the Gosport area of Hampshire

An Asian hornet nest in an apple tree was killed near Gosport, Hampshire on Friday 11th September.  The nest was small, approximately 20cm in diameter and monitoring will continue in the area.

Further information regarding the Asian hornet can be found on our Asian hornet page on BeeBase and on Defra's 2020 Asian Hornet sightings page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



September 2020 - Asian Hornet Week

7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
A new blog by the National Bee Unit on Asian Hornet has just been published here
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



September 2020 - Asian hornet confirmed in the Gosport area of Hampshire

Beekeepers and members of the public were today asked to remain vigilant after an Asian hornet was spotted in the Gosport area of Hampshire.

Further information regarding the Asian hornet can be found on our Asian hornet page of BeeBase and on Defra's news page.  Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



September 2020 - Asian Hornet Week

7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
You can help our UK pollinators by being able to identify Asian Hornets and reporting your sightings. Please refer to the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat’s recently updated identification sheet.
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



September 2020 - Asian Hornet Week

7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week

The Welsh Beekeeping Association hosted a webinar by Frank Gellatly, the Regional Bee Inspector for Wales during Asian hornet week.  The presentation covers Asian Hornet identification, the Asian Hornet in France, incursions into England, the response including track and trace and the future, including Asian Hornet Teams in Wales.

A recording of the webinar is available here

Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



September 2020 - Asian Hornet Week

7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
Presentations on Asian Hornet Biology and Asian Hornet Genetics by Fera Science Ltd. are available online.
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



September 2020 - Asian Hornet Week

7-13 September is Asian Hornet Week
A new video showing a hornet processing a bee and helpful tips on identification is now available 
Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.



August 2020 - Starvation Alert

Bee Inspectors across the UK are reporting that many colonies are in need of food where honey has been harvested and nectar availability is reduced. Where starvation is a risk, replacement food needs to be provided.

Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. Sugar syrup should be made with 1kg of sugar to 650ml of warm water or a commercially ready-made bee syrup can be given.

For further information, please see the Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar



July 2020 - This week (13-19 July) is Bees’ Needs Week

Bees’ Needs Week is a campaign co-ordinated by Defra to raise awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators, and to provide practical advice on what we can all do to support them. Many organisations are working together to encourage everyone who can, to do simple things at home - like growing more flowers and cutting grass less often - to help our precious pollinators thrive, and to engage further with nature through citizen science initiatives.
There’s more information on the Bees’ Needs Website. Throughout the week a variety of content will be shared online including:
• Why bees are important animation
• Day in the life of a beekeeper video
• Educational resources including bumble bee identification
• Information on the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme
Get involved with Bees’ Needs Week on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #BeesNeeds



July 2020 - USING VETERINARY MEDICINES SAFELY, EFFECTIVELY AND LEGALLY

The VMD would like to remind beekeepers of their responsibilities and duty to comply with the VMR and VMD guidance. A veterinary medicine must be administered in accordance with its marketing authorisation, which in practice means you must follow the instructions in the package leaflet unless directed otherwise by your vet.

Read the full VMD Communication



June 2020 - New Presentations Online

The National Bee Unit is pleased to share a range of presentations created by Fera Science Ltd. presented by Kirsty Stainton on;
Asian Hornet Biology
Asian Hornet Genetics
European foulbrood

The presentations can be found on BeeBases pages on Asian hornet and Foulbrood.
Please do contact us with your feedback.



April 2020 - DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES PROVIDED BY SASA DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Scottish beekeepers; please read the attached information note from Scottish Government.

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES PROVIDED BY SASA DURING COVID-19 CRISIS



April 2020 - COVID-19 and Beekeeping update

Please find updated Covid-19 beekeeping guidance with official logos for England, Wales and Scotland.  The updated guidance has an amended paragraph which reads:

There are currently no restrictions on movements of bee colonies that you are managing, such as moving bees to fulfil pollination contracts. However, you should observe the public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when carrying out these activities, including the guidance on social distancing and essential travel.

Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v2

COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v2



March 2020 - COVID-19 and Beekeeping

Please see the below guidance from the bee health policy teams in England, Wales and Scotland regarding beekeeping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v2

COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v2

If you have any queries please contact:

For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk 
For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot




February 2020 - Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies

The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas. If you are interested in applying for the job, please use the links below and contact the relevant Regional Bee Inspector for any queries regarding the position.

South East – Kent
North East – East and West Yorkshire
Southern – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Hampshire
Eastern - North Cambridgeshire, South Lincs & West Norfolk



February 2020 - Smarter Rules for Safer Food - Official Controls Regulation

DO YOU IMPORT BEES FROM OUTSIDE THE EU? If so, please read the below factsheet on what you need to do to prepare.

The new Official Controls Regulation (OCR) will apply directly to the UK from 14th December 2019. Please read the OCR Factsheet for further information.

You do not need to register on TRACES NT if you:
• are not responsible for the load and do not raise notifications
• only trade with the EU as you will continue to use TRACES Classic for Live Animals and Animal By Products



February 2020 - eLearning Upgrade

Please be aware that we will shortly being upgrading our eLearning platform and as a result any information relating to previously completed training will be lost. We would therefore advise that if you wish to retain a record of your training, that you download this information and any certificates, before the end of February.


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