2020 GBKA Honey Show & AGM

Join us at the annual GBKA Honey Show

Saturday, February 22nd 10am to 2pm

Hosted by the Dean Forest Beekeepers Branch at Coleford Library, The Main Place, Railway Drive, Coleford, GL16 8RH

Guest Speaker

Gordon Bull

‘Jan Dzierzon’, the famous beekeeper that you’ve probably never heard of’

Gordon is a biologist who started keeping bees at his home in the North Cotswolds in 2008. His beekeeping interests include queen rearing and raising nucs. He is a Master Beekeeper and has been a Seasonal Bee Inspector since 2015.

Gordon’s talk will begin at 10:30am.

The Honey Show

The annual GBKA Honey Show is a great opportunity to catch up with news across the county, experience our county level honey show and also meet others outside our own Branches to chat and exchange information.  Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

We will very much look forward to welcoming you and hope that you will be able to attend.

Honey Show Programme

Notice to enter the Honey Show must reach Nikki Burger by 20th  February 2020 giving your name, branch and the classes you are entering.  Entries should be dropped off between 9.00 and 10 am on the day.

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).

AHAT – Asian Hornet Action Team

It is assumed that the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) will again appear in Gloucestershire.  The role of the county AHAT is to coordinate the efforts to share any reports  and confirm any Asian hornet sightings including the collection of photographs or samples.

Asian hornet (Vespa velutina)

Once the National Bee Unit (NBU) of DEFRA has been informed, they will then take charge of the operation to find and destroy the nest.  Under their direction AHATs may be invited to help find it. 

Mike Forster is the County AHAT Coordinator and each GBKA branch has an AHAT lead indicated below :

Cheltenham & GloucesterMike Forster
Cirencester & DistrictDenis Flavel
Dean ForestGraham Pugh
NewentJohn Whitaker
North CotswoldsSarah Foulkes
StroudPeter Lead
South CotswoldsTBC

Click here for more information

Royal Three Counties Show – 2019

The Heart of England’s premiere celebration of the countryside and rural life

Malvern, Friday 14th to Sunday 16th of June.

The Bees and Honey show is organised by the three county beekeeping associations of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Schedules and entry forms for the event are now available.

Come with family and friends and help us celebrate the countryside at Royal Three Counties Show being held at Three Counties Showground – it’s a great summer’s day out.

Lots of activities for all the family ensure that there is never a dull moment. Try your hand at lots of different activities, or get up close with the friendly animals in Fur, Feather & Farm. In our theatre, show ambassador Adam Henson delivers fascinating talks and insights and over in the Main Arena nonstop entertainment culminates in the Grand Parade of Livestock.

This year Herefordshire is organising the main display for the Bees and Honey Show with the theme of ‘beehive designs’ including skep building.

Honey bee health day – 3rd August, 2019

Gloucestershire Beekeepers Association (GBKA) will be hosting a Honey Bee Health Day with the support from Colin Pavey (Regional Bee Inspector on behalf of APHA) and his team of Seasonal Bee Inspectors.

The day includes presentations and workshops delivered by Colin and his team, on topics related to honey bee pests and disease recognition, pest and disease management, apiary hygiene, apiary inspections and a rare opportunity to examine combs with notifiable disease (EFB and AFB).

Please bring clean bee suit, clean footwear and non-leather gloves.

Tea, coffee and light lunch will be provided.

Event fee: £8.00 per person (non-refundable)

Location: Rural Innovation Centre, Harnhill, GL7 5PU

Date and Time: Saturday, 3rd August, 2019. 09:00 – 17:00.

For more information contact: Marin Anastasov, NDB – manastassov@aol.com

To book, click on the link below:


George Knight’s Memorial Award

Gloucestershire BeeKeepers Association (GBKA) received the George Knight’s Memorial Award in 2018 as the British BeeKeeping Association making the most progress in examinations and assessments beyond the Basic Certificate.

In 2018, from the 75 Associations around the country, Gloucestershire BeeKeepers Association (GBKA) had the most Modules, General Husbandry, Honey Bee Health and Microscopy certificates gained, and Deputy Chairman Chris Strudwick, accepted the award on behalf of GBKA at the recent Annual Delegate’s Meeting in Warwick. The BBKA examination system provides the stepping stones for constructive development and learning and the success of many GBKA members in passing the exams speaks for the efforts put by all in this respect.

Exams 2018PassCreditDistinction
Module 181
Module 21
Module 353
Module 5113
Module 6
Module 732
Module 81
Bee Health3
Bee Breeding1
Gen. Husbandry3
Adv. Husbandry
Int. theory111
Adv. theory1
Qualified beekeeper3
Master beekeeper

2018 NBU Western Region Annual Report

2018 Western Region Annual Report

Prepared by our Regional Bee Inspector Colin Pavey.

A few highlights

  • Gloucestershire has 833 beekeepers, 1235 apiaries and 4944 colonies – almost double the number of colonies compared with our neighbouring counties in the Western region.
  • The level of European Foulbrood (EFB) reported has halved in 2018 (9 colonies) compared with last year.
  • There were no reports of American Foulbrood (AFB) and the area has been AFB free since 2015.
  • There were no reports of Asian Hornet in the Gloucestershire area this year, although there were nine confirmed sightings in England. Two nests were located and destroyed in Cornwall (primary and secondary nests) and two in Hampshire. The others were isolated sightings. All beekeepers are urged to remain vigilant with the possibility of new sightings next Spring. Details of how to report a sighting are included in Colin’s report.
  • The UK remains free of Small Hive Beetle. In Europe, it remains restricted to Southern Italy where it was originally found in 2014.
  • The report includes links on the legal requirements to import or export bees.

Defra Queen Rearing Survey

Queen Rearing Survey

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have now published their survey of queen rearing practices in the UK.

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here

The working group that put this survey together are very much encouraged by the level of interest and engagement in this topic.

Defra are continuing to work with beekeeping organisations on the analysis of these results and also looking at options for ways to improve our ability to rear queens in the UK.

The Queen Rearing Working Group is chaired by Defra with representatives from the National Bee Unit (NBU), the Bee Farmers’ Association (BFA), the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders’ Association (BIBBA) and the National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB).

BIBBA Conference 2018 – Cirencester

BIBBA conference 2018
The Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA)
will hold its biennial conference during 6-9 September 2018 at
the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.All beekeepers are welcome

The programme contains a wide variety of topics, with three
simultaneous lectures, together with seminars and workshops.
There is something for everyone, whatever your interest or
experience. The three lecture streams are themed as follows:

  • Bee lmprovement  Queen rearing, bee breeding,
    genetics, queen mating, mini-nucs and their
    management, overwintering queens, etc.
  • General beekeeping  Management techniques,
    treatment-free beekeeping, overwintering nucs, comb
    honey, marketing, bee communication, etc.
  • Beginner and beyond  Forage and feeding, wintering,
    swarming, bee space, nutrition, mystery of mating, colony
    cycle, simple management techniques, colony health,
    and more. The three days in this stream will be at a level
    that can help you understand and care for your bees.
There are over 50 presentations from more than 30 top
presenters; many have over 30 years of beekeeping
experience, so they are telling participants what the bees have
told them, not something straight out of books.There is a variety of scientific and practical topics and this
conference is about as good as you will get. You can
attend on whichever days you wish and choose the
presentation you want to see.

There is accommodation onsite plus plenty in the locality.
Check the programme, tell your local beekeeping friends and
why not fill a car for an enjoyable break?


only £30 per day including lunch
evening meal and accommodation also available

More details at bibba-conference-2018

NBU – Western Region Annual Report 2017

A copy of the 2017 Western Region Annual Report  is now available from the Regional Bee Inspector Colin Pavey.

  • Notifiable disease levels were below average – but with one or two hotspots.
  • High varroa levels were seen especially late in the season.
  • Levels of minor disease were average or below.
  • No reports of Small Hive Beetle in the UK.
  • No reports of Asian hornet in Gloucestershire in 2017 but a nest was found and destroyed in Woolacombe, North Devon (see NBU website and adjacent NBU news for latest updates).
  • A reminder that it is a legal requirement to notify the National Bee Unit of any bee imports into the UK.
  • It is also a legal requirement to only use approved Veterinary Medicines and to keep proper records of any treatments.
  • Please remember to also register your colonies on BeeBase.