Beekeeping in the United Kingdom

In the winter of 2008, about 20% of the UK's bees died. The losses were highest in the north of England and lowest in the east. These winter losses have been increasing in recent years as some of the treatments to combat Varroa lose their efficacy.

The government researches bees at its National Bee Unit, run by the Food and Environment Research Agency at Sand Hutton in North Yorkshire, close to A64.

The Bees Act 1980 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that seeks to stop the damage caused by diseases, chemicals (such as Imidacloprid and pests that damage the wellbeing of bees). It repealed the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1941. The act has never been put into force, and currently does not extend to Northern Ireland.

The National Bee Unit is responsible for the delivery of the Bee Health Programme in England and Wales. It is based in Sand Hutton in North Yorkshire.

The National Honey Show, the first of which was held 1923 at The Crystal Palace, is an annual British show of honey and other bee products.


The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) (established 1874)[1][2] represents amateur beekeepers in England. There are many local associations, within the county associations, which are within the BBKA. The association is a registered charity. It is based at the National Agricultural Centre in the National Beekeeping Centre, where it has been since July 2000, although it has been at Stoneleigh since 1982. Previous to 1943 it was based on Bedford Street in London. From these premises, the Beekeepers' Record and British Beekeepers' Journal were published.

The Ulster Beekeepers Association (UBKA) represents the interests of amateur beekeepers in Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBKA) is the national voluntary body in Scotland representing beekeeping and beekeepers nationally and internationally.

The Welsh Beekeepers Association (WBKA) represents the interests of Welsh amateur beekeepers.

The Bee Farmers' Association of the UK (BFA) represents the commercial beekeepers of the UK.

Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI)[3] offers insurance against notifiable diseases for beekeepers in England and Wales.

The Confederation of National Beekeepers Associations (CONBA) represents the above associations in Europe.

Examinations board

The National Diploma in Beekeeping Examination board[4] was established in 1954 to meet a need for a beekeeping qualification, above the level of the certificates awarded by the Beekeeping associations.

It was originally intended as an appropriate qualification for County Beekeeping Instructors and Lecturers, of which there were some forty full- and part-time appointments across the United Kingdom at that time. The prime movers in this development were Fred Richards, the C.B.I. for Norfolk and H.M.I. Franklin, whose brief included rural education. Although the County Lecturers have disappeared from the beekeeping scene since the privatisation of the agricultural colleges, there are still beekeepers wishing to pursue their studies to an advanced level. The NDB offers them the opportunity to undertake such study.

See also


  1. "Advertisement - British Bee-Keepers Association". The Cornishman (46). 29 May 1879. p. 1.
  2. BBKA - The History. Stoneleigh Park, British Beekeepers Association, 2011.
  3. Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI)
  4. National Diploma in Beekeeping Examination board

External links

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