Royal Three Counties Show 2022

The Royal Three Counties show is back for 2022 following its cancellation due to the pandemic. The show runs over three days (Friday June 17th to Sunday 19th) and features the Bees & Honey show as well as a wide variety of livestock and events to entertain the family.

Details on how to enter the honey show and further information can be found here.

GBKA Auction May 7th, 2022

The GBKA auction will take place on Saturday, 7th of May 2022 at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), Cirencester, GL7 6JS (Stroud Rd. entrance). Lots are taken from 8 am till 11 am on the day with live bees to be entered by 9am. The auction begins at 12 noon. A canteen is available for refreshments until 2 pm.

More information

2022 Spring lecture day, Honey Show and AGM

Gloucestershire Beekeepers Association will be holding the Spring lecture day and County honey show on Saturday 19th February 2022, from 10:00 at Witcombe and Bentham Village Hall, Witcombe, GL3 4TB.

Refreshments and cakes will be provided, but please bring your own lunch.

The speaker programme includes:

  • James Wilson (H A Day & Sons) – Current Farming Methods and Sustainable Farming
  • Dr. Dawn Teverson (Technical Manager LEAF) – Integrated Pest Management
  • Alex Chalk QC. (MP for Cheltenham) – Pollinators, Bees, Farmers – a government view of the Environmental Land Management Scheme
  • Peter Higgs (BeeGone) – Live Bee Removal

Further details can be found here.

Online Module exams – 19th March, 2022

The deadline for the March Module examinations is February 7th . A unique link to the Application Form is available from our Education Secretary (Bernie Danvers).  

The exams can be taken both online and in person. Please ensure that you download the latest software ahead of the exam if you are taking the exam online.

Further information and download instructions can be found on the BBKA website 

2021 NBU Western England Annual Report

  • The 2021 annual report is now available.
  • Following the retirement of Colin Pavey, Jonathan Axe is the new Regional Bee Inspector for the Western Region which includes Gloucester. Liz Gardener is the Seasonal Bee Inspector for the majority of Gloucestershire with Bronwen Hopkins covering the Forest of Dean from March.
  • The level of European Foulbrood (EFB) has continued to increase in the Western region and is now at record levels, although the numbers in Gloucestershire remain low. Avoiding colonies swarming and quarantining captured swarms, to check for disease, can help to prevent the spread of EFB to neighbouring areas in the region.
  • Remember to check your colonies for stores during periods of poor weather to avoid starvation and monitor and treat for Varroa where necessary to avoid colony collapse.
  • There were no reports of Asian hornet in the region. However, the nest found and destroyed in Ascot (Berkshire), was the largest to have been found in England to date (35cm diameter). Monitoring and local Asian Hornet Teams therefore remain important.
  • As the UK is now considered a Third Country by the EU, all honeybee imports from the EU require an accompanying export health certificate. Only queens can be imported from the EU (and package bees from New Zealand). The risk remains, however, that package bees from southern Italy (where Small Hive Beetle is present) could be imported into mainland UK via Northern Ireland.
  • 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.

Fascinating video insight into honeybee behaviour

A recent paper by Paul Seifert and colleagues provides a fascinating insight into many different aspects of honeybee behaviour. Video recordings of cross-sections of cells in an observation hive reveal how the queen lays eggs, the eggs hatch, the larvae are fed, spin a cocoon and the cells capped. Other aspects of honeybee behaviour include depositing nectar and pollen in cells, removing wax scales and manipulating wax, thermoregulation, cannibalism and grooming.

More details and links to the videos are available at pone.0247323

2020 NBU Western Region Annual Report

Prepared by our Regional Bee Inspector Colin Pavey

Keeping a safe distance in 2020 – from the beekeeper! Photo Jonathan Axe

Some highlights from Colin Pavey’s Report


  • 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 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, excluding the Forest of Dean where it is Jonathan Axe.
  • There was an increase in the incidence of EFB in the Western Region in 2020. Fewer affected colonies were found in Gloucestershire (8 vs 11 in 2019), but the number was very high in Worcestershire (almost 40) and more than double in Herefordshire (21 vs 10 in 2019). 
  • There was only 1 case of AFB – in Worcestershire.
  • Some beekeepers are taking a ‘light touch’ with regard to treatment for Varroa. Remember to monitor and control for Varroa where necessary. Use biotechnical methods or 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 2020 although the threat of SHB incursion from Italy remains.
  • There were no reports of Asian Hornet in the Gloucestershire area again in 2020 and only one in the UK (Gosport, Hampshire) – the small nest was found and destroyed.
  • Nationally, 21405 queens and 1882 packages of bees and 573 nucs/colonies were imported – links on how to import bees legally are available within the Report and it should be noted that new rules apply from January 2021. Better still, why not have a go at raising your own local queens with the help of your local GBKA branch.

Healthy Bees Plan

A review of the the  Healthy Bees Plan (2009) and the new Plan (2030) have now been published.

Honey bees are susceptible to a variety of threats, including pests and diseases, the likelihood and consequences of which have increased significantly in recent years.

The plan aims to address the challenges facing beekeepers and bee farmers and is aimed at sustaining the health of honey bees and beekeeping in England and Wales over the next decade. It builds on the previous Healthy Bees Plan which allowed government, beekeepers and bee farmers to develop ways of working together, helped improve the NBU’s knowledge of beekeepers and built on existing education and training programmes carried out by associations. The plan describes the four main outcomes we want to achieve, working with individual beekeepers and bee farmers, their associations and other stakeholders.

These are:

  1. Effective biosecurity and good standards of husbandry, to minimise pest and disease risks and so improve the sustainability of honey bee populations;

  2. Enhanced skills and production capability/capacity of beekeepers and bee farmers;

  3. Sound science and evidence underpinning the actions taken to support bee health; and

  4. Increased opportunities for knowledge exchange and partnership working on honey bee health and wider pollinator needs.

The plan also identifies ways in which government, beekeepers, bee farmers, their associations and other stakeholders will work together to achieve these aims. Continued strong partnership working with interested parties is essential if current and evolving threats to bee health are to be successfully identified and addressed.