Dear Member

The swarming season always throws up an interesting array of phone calls about bees and this year has been no exception despite BBKA’s improved information about what constitutes a swarm. Most of the calls I have had this year have been from people with bees already lodged in the fabric of buildings, or bumble bees. Several swarms were reported, but by the time I was ready to collect they had also departed, hopefully not into someone else’s chimney.

Read more: June 2019

Dear Member

Perhaps you were as confused as I was between the Coloss colony loss survey and the BBKA survey from Leigh Sidaway. Hope you managed to do both as the information for Coloss will go towards a Europe wide survey whereas the BBKA one is UK wide. A bit like Brexit talks, it would be good if they could co-operatate and co-ordinate their efforts.

Read more: May 2019

Dear Member

April is usually the time when temperatures are high enough, and there is forage around, for a first inspection to be less disruptive to the bees, but with a warm dry February and then some high temperatures in March it seems that many colonies are already building up strongly and we can anticipate an early swarming season as a result. Apparently Winnie the Pooh made the very apt remark that “you can never tell with bees”- something that anyone who has ever kept bees will concur with.

Read more: April 2019

Dear Member

Towards the end of this month, if the weather starts to warm up, you should start to see your bees bringing in pollen. The flowers they will be foraging from at this time of year are crocus, snowdrops, helebore, mahonia and pussy willow. It is a good idea to have some of these planted in the vicinity of your hives as while the weather is still cool, the bees cannot fly too far, about 100 yards maximum, before getting chilled and then they are unable to fly back to the hive. They won’t be bringing nectar in until the temperatures get to around 15degrees C, so keep hefting your hives and feed fondant if necessary.

Read more: February 2019

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  • New Appointments within the National Bee Unit
    14 January 2022
    We are pleased to announce the temporary appointment of Dhonn Atkinson as the National Bee Inspector (NBI) whilst the current NBI Cristina Ruiz is on maternity leave. Dhonn has held a variety of roles across the National Bee Unit and Animal and Plant Health Agency where he held the role of Regional Bee Inspector for the North East of England.

    Following the retirement of Keith Morgan, Colin Pavey, and shortly Frank Gellatly and the temporary promotion of Sandra Gray, we are pleased to confirm the following movements and appointments:-

    Regional Bee Inspector for Western England – Jonathan Axe has been promoted from the role of Seasonal Bee Inspector.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Eastern England - Pete Davies, an experienced manager has moved from the Central England Region.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Central England - John Geden. John joins the National Bee Unit as an experienced bee farmer.

    Regional Bee Inspector for South East – Daniel Etheridge a seasonal bee inspector has been offered a temporary promotion to manage this area.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Wales – Maggie Gill has been promoted from the role of Seasonal Bee Inspector.

    Regional Bee Inspector for North East England – David Bough a seasonal bee inspector has been offered a temporary promotion to manage this area.

    For full up to date details please visit the contacts page
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies
    21 December 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy advertised in:

    East England: Norfolk.

    North East England: East Yorkshire

    Mid-South Wales: Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, South Pembrokeshire, West Carmarthenshire

    West England: South East Shropshire, South Staffordshire, North West Worcestershire

    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the area.

    Closing date for application: 16th January 2022
  • Bee Health Advisory Forum - Science Advisor
    08 November 2021
    The Bee Health Advisory Forum brings Defra & Welsh Government policy and stakeholders together to discuss honey bee health issues and is inviting expressions of interest from applicants interested in being Bee Health Advisory Forum Science Advisors. The closing date for applications is Friday 17th December at 17:00.

    Full details about the role can be downloaded here and can be found on the Bee Health Advisory page. Please circulate to prospective advisors or feel free to apply.