2019 NBU Western Region Annual Report

Prepared by our Regional Bee Inspector Colin Pavey.

A few highlights

  • Gloucestershire has 853 registered beekeepers, 1255 apiaries and 5226 colonies – the largest in the Western region.
  • Registration on BeeBase is important for all beekeepers to help the National Bee Unit identify colonies at risk from notifiable disease or exotic pests and target control measures effectively. Remember also to keep your keep your apiary records up to date.
  • There are 6 inspectors for the Western Region. From 1st April 2020 you can use the postcode search on the contacts page of BeeBase to check for your local Seasonal Bee Inspector (available April to September). Elizabeth Gardner is the SBI for Gloucestershire.
  • Nationally, 20081 queens and 2623 packages of bees were imported – details of how to import bees legally are available on BeeBase (or better still, why not have a go at raising your own local queens with the help of your local GBKA branch).
  • There were a number of call outs to hives with dead bees – these turned out to be cases of Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus which appears to be on the increase.
  • There were no reports of American Foulbrood (AFB). Remember not to feed bees with bought honey since this may contain the long-lived AFB spores.
  • The level of European Foulbrood (EFB) reported in Gloucestershire was slightly higher compared with last year with 11 colonies affected (vs 9 in 2018).
  • A high level of Varroa in colonies during 2019 was noted. Remember to monitor and control for Varroa. Use Veterinary Medicines Directorate approved treatments as required, record their use, and rotate them to avoid the risk of resistance.
  • There were no reports of the exotic pests Tropilaelaps or Small Hive Beetle in the UK in 2019. SHB remains present in Southern Italy and the illegal movement of colonies from the protection zone on the mainland to Sicilly was detected. No new outbreaks in the protection zone have been reported.
  • The NBU held a Bee Health Day with the GBKA in 2019. An excellent opportunity to see examples of diseased combs, participate in workshops and focus on keeping healthy bees.
  • There were no reports of Asian Hornet in the Gloucestershire area again this year. Three nests were located and destroyed in 2019 – one in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The other two were in Dorset. Individual hornet sightings were also reported in Hampshire and Kent. Sightings (with a photo) can be reported using the Asian Hornet Watch App. (A GBKA Asian Hornet Action Team – AHAT- was formed in 2019 to help manage any outbreaksSeptember and October appears to be the key risk period).