Interested in Beekeeping?


The Vale and Downland Beekeepers’ association are holding meetings for anyone interested in beekeeping at our association apiary on:

• Saturday 12 August 11:00hrs

• Saturday 26 August 11:00hrs

Spaces are limited so if you’d like to come along or if you know of anyone who would be interested in attending any of these meetings please email Michael or email Sam

or call Michael Havard-Bilton on 01235 523420 between 6pm-7pm Mon-Fri evenings.

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Latest Defra Update

Latest Defra update

On 28th July the National Bee Unit (NBU) removed a secondary Asian hornet nest in Plymouth. The inspectors located the primary nest on 1st August and destruction will take place later in the week.

The NBU located a primary Asian hornet nest in Hawkinge on 30th of July which was destroyed and removed.

After responding to a credible sighting in Folkestone, Kent the NBU located a nest on 1st of August. Destruction is planned to occur in the following days.

The NBU are also monitoring 5 further credible sightings of Asian hornets.

If you think you have seen an Asian hornet, please notify the Great British Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) immediately. In the first instance sightings should be reported through the free Asian Hornet Watch App, available for Android and iPhone.


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The National Honey Show

The National Honey Show

The 2023 National Honey Show takes place at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9AJ  on 26th – 28th October.

The National Honey Show is the UK’s premier honey show with international classes, lectures and workshops.  British Beekeepers Association qualified honey judges are invited to work at the Show and the BBKA and it’s members support it.

The National Honey Show team is concerned that the BBKA office has been receiving time wasting enquiries about the show.   The National Honey Show is a separate entity from the BBKA so please don’t bother BBKA office staff with Show enquiries.

For more information about the National Honey Show please visit the website and for specific enquiries please contact the National Honey Show General Secretary

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Statement from the British Beekeepers’ Association President, Anne Rowberry, on banned bee-killing pesticides:

“The BBKA is totally opposed to the use of this and similar pesticides due to their effect on honeybees and other pollinators, and the wider environment.

The UK government has yet again issued a licence for the temporary use of this banned bee-killing pesticide just days after the EC High Court ruled that all temporary licences for banned pesticides were forbidden in Europe.

Our government’s Environment Policy rewards farmers for planting more wildflowers for pollinators. Surely these temporary licences make a mockery of encouraging more pollinators onto farmland.

As a matter of urgency, the BBKA would be grateful if you could register your opposition to any use of banned bee-killing pesticides by writing to your MP.”

Further information is available here.

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Beekeepers Put £90,000 Into Bee Health Research

PRESS RELEASE: From the CB Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research Trust,
Bee Diseases Insurance Limited and The British Beekeepers Association


The health of honey bees is of increasing importance, so the CB Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research
Trust, Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd and The British Beekeepers Association are combining to fully fund a
three year research studentship into bee health. British Universities and Research Institutes are being
invited to apply with a research proposal that would improve our understanding of bee health and
contribute to the long-term benefit of bees.
Funding a student to undertake the research for a doctorate also helps ensure that we have high class
researchers in the field of bee health for the future. The grant will fully fund the research and is worth up
to £90,000 over the three years.
The President of Bees Disease Insurance, Martin Smith said, ‘The ability to provide greater resources to
support research into bee diseases through this joint arrangement must be a good thing. We hope
significant results will be forthcoming.’
The Chair of the British Beekeepers Association, Stephen Barnes said, ‘Cooperating in this way to support
high quality research that will ultimately benefit bees, beekeeping and the environment is a really positive
step forward.’
The Chair of the CB Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research Trust, Simon Baker said, ‘It is a great
opportunity to help improve the outlook for our honey bees and wild bees, and fantastic that three separate
organisations with a shared concern for bees can cooperate in this way’

Application forms are available from the CB Dennis Trust website (

— Ends —

Notes to Editors
Bee Diseases Insurance Limited (BDI) ( insures beekeepers in England
and Wales against the loss of beekeeping equipment in the event of the destruction or treatment of their
bees by a NBU approved Bee Inspector as a result of being infected by a notifiable disease. To promote
a healthy bee population, BDI sponsors research into the causes and possible remedies of honey bee


Version 1.1 August 2022
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) represents approximately 30,000 hobbyist beekeepers
( The BBKA is dedicated to the education of the public and beekeepers in the craft of
beekeeping and promote the importance of bees in the environment. It is a registered charity and supports
research on bee diseases and pests.
The C.B. Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research Trust ( is a registered charity
which supports research at universities and institutes that benefits bees and beekeeping in Britain through
the provision of grants.

Martin Smith, President, Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd.
Email: Phone: 07831 695732

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Sighting of Asian hornet near Chelmsford

August 2022 – Credible sighting of a single Asian hornet near Chelmsford, Essex

National Bee Unit inspectors are carrying out enhanced surveillance near Chelmsford, in response to a compelling report of Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

Further information regarding the yellow-legged Asian hornet can be found on Defra’s Asian Hornet sightings page and on BeeBase’s Asian hornet page. For media enquiries, please contact the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

We ask beekeepers to remain vigilant, record monitoring trap locations on BeeBase by logging in and updating their my apiaries page, report suspected sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone and Android, or the online reporting form.

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First Asian Hornet of 2022 Confirmed

The first Asian Hornet of 2022 on the British mainland has been confirmed at Felixstowe in Suffolk. It was found in the shed of a beekeeper who keeps a sentinel apiary ( an apiary set up to monitor for diseases and pests).

Last year there were 2 Asian Hornet nests found on the mainland at Ascot in Berkshire and Portsmouth in Hampshire in October.

There has only been one other spring sighting of Asian Hornets at Bury in Lancashire in 2018.

Bee inspectors have set up enhanced monitoring in the area and are working to raise awareness with local beekeepers.

Felixstowe is Britain’s largest and busiest container port and one of the larges in Europe with links to more than 700 ports around the world, so the NBU says this immediately suggests a possible means by which the hornet could have arrived.

Additional information from Beebase:

April 2022 – A confirmed finding of a single Asian hornet in Felixstowe, Suffolk

The National Bee Unit is carrying out enhanced monitoring and awareness raising together with local beekeepers after a single insect, confirmed to be Vespa velutina was killed at a sentinel apiary, reported by a beekeeper.

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

We continue to ask beekeepers to remain vigilant, record monitoring trap locations on BeeBase (guidance here) and report suspect sightings here.

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Ukraine Emergency Appeal

The VDBKA welcomes the National Honey Show’s initiative in setting up a Just Giving page in recognition of the long association beekeepers here have with Ukrainian Beekeepers.

Money raised will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Link below

The NHS is also re-establishing a category previously sponsored by Ukrainian beekeepers at the annual National Honey Show.

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Swarm removal

During this time of year and through the summer months we get many calls and questions from people with bees in their houses, outbuildings and gardens.

There are over 250 types of bees in the UK but there is only one european honey bee (Apis mellifera). As well as honey bees there are around 24 species of bumblebee and over 240 species of solitary bee in the UK. Please see below to help identify what type of bee you have and who to approach for help and information.
A swarm of honey-bees May 2013 - photo John Eustace

If you come across a swarm of bees don’t panic. The bees are usually quite docile while they are swarming and they may not stay in place for more than a few hours. Please do not disturb the bees, instead before calling please read our swarm information page. All VDBKA swarm collectors have made their location and contact details available on the BBKA Swarm Map – managed by the British Beekeepers Association.

Bees in buildings: Please note all of our swarm collectors or indeed other beekeeping organisations are unable to work at height or dismantle building structures due to BBKA insurance restrictions. We therefore recommend you read this document and then contact a specialist company.

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2022 International Meeting of Young Beekeepers

February 25 2022

International Meeting of Young Beekeepers 2022 is planned to be held in Russia.
BBKA’s Executive Committee has decided to withdraw from the event this year.
BBKA’s president is investigating whether an event can be held in the UK this year to celebrate our own young beekeepers.

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