National Pollinator Strategy

The closing deadline for the UK National Pollinator strategy is on the 2nd May 2014, if you wish to contribute anything please do so now by contacting

Richard Watkins
01904 406659

During the past few months Defra has been working with a wide variety of organisations and interest groups in developing a proposed ‘national pollinator strategy’ for bees and other pollinators in England. The BBKA has been very involved in its development.

The Government has now launched a public consultation on the proposed strategy.

The link page to the consultation is

The strategy sets out proposals to safeguard these important creatures given their role in pollinating many food crops and wild plants and their contribution to our food production and the diversity of our environment.
The overview to the strategy comments that bees and other pollinators face a wide range of environmental pressures and some species are threatened. Examples of pressures are: intensification of land-use and habitat loss both leading to the loss of their food sources and shelter; pests and diseases; invasive species; use of pesticides and, climate change. There are growing concerns that these pressures are leading to declines in the number, diversity and geographical range of individual species.

Available evidence on these concerns is set out in the independent report on the ‘Status and value of pollinators and pollination services’ (‘the Status Report’) which Defra commissioned in 2013 to help inform the development of the strategy. The Status Report is published with the consultant document.
Through the proposed strategy, the government’s aim is to set a new direction to safeguard and support our pollinators, building on many current initiatives and drawing on the skills, experience and enthusiasm of all interested parties. The proposed strategy has three main elements:

1. Evidence-gathering on pollinator status and impacts of pressures. The strategy proposes twelve evidence actions to provide a sound base for future policies to support pollinators, including developing and implementing a sustainable monitoring programme on pollinators.
2. Priority policy actions. The strategy proposes eighteen priority actions for Government and others to implement from 2014. They reflect current evidence and in some cases build on and expand current initiatives to refocus on the essential needs of pollinators.
3. A commitment to review and refresh the strategy’s aims and actions as additional evidence becomes available. From 2016, there will be new evidence from the monitoring programme and other evidence projects. In addition lessons will be learnt from the effectiveness of the policy actions from the partnerships and collaborations built during 2014 to 2016. Using this evidence, the Government will work with other interested parties to review the strategy’s aims and to identify any necessary additional policy actions or ways of working to strengthen the government’s response by 2019.
Beekeepers will be asked to play a crucial role in ensuring a healthy, thriving honey bee population able to contribute to the pollination requirements identified in the strategy.

The BBKA will, on your behalf, continue to fully and actively participate in the development and implementation of the strategy representing the interests of honey bees as well as helping other pollinators.
The BBKA will be formally responding to the strategy consultation document. However I urge you as an individual beekeeper and / or your association to download the documents and send in your responses to the questions asked. In this way government will obtain help and guidance as to the best ways forward to meet the variety of circumstances in which honey bees are managed in England.

The closing data for the consultation is the 2nd May 2014 and I would appreciate you telling me when you have sent in a response.

Yours faithfully

Dr David Aston NDB
Chair BBKA Technical and Environmental Committee

7th March 2014

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BBKA damage survey – Closed

The BBKA Winter damage survey is now closed and we look forward to the results being published soon.


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BBKA Worker Bee newsletter

Hello Beekeepers,
The BBKA has issued its spring “worker bee” newsletter please click on the link below to see it here.

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BBKA UPDATE – Bumblebees affected with Nosema ceranae

The BBKA has issued a response to the recent paper suggesting links with bumblebee diseases, see here for details.

The beleaguered bumblebee faces a new threat, scientists say.

Researchers have found that two diseases harboured by honeybees are spilling over into wild bumblebees.

Insects infected with deformed wing virus and a fungal parasite called Nosema ceranae were found across England, Scotland and Wales.

Writing in the journal Nature, the team says that beekeepers should keep their honeybees as free from disease as possible to stop the spread.

“These pathogens are capable of infecting adult bumblebees and they seem to have quite significant impacts,” said Professor Mark Brown from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Around the world, bumblebees are doing badly.

In the last few decades, many species have suffered steep declines, and some, such Cullem’s bumblebee (Bombus cullumanus) in the UK, have gone extinct.

More here

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Suspicious Virus Makes Rare Cross-Kingdom Leap From Plants to Honeybees

An interesting article has appeared in Scientific American, that may be of interest to members.

“When HIV jumped from chimpanzees to humans sometime in the early 1900s, it crossed a gulf spanning several million years of evolution. But tobacco ringspot virus, scientists announced last week, has made a jump that defies credulity. It has crossed a yawning chasm ~1.6 billion years wide.

And this is likely bad news for its new host, the honeybee, matchmaker of crops and bringer of honey. These are two services for which humans are both eternally indebted, and, in the case of the former, possibly unable to live without. Bees pollinate the majority of our fruit and nut crops and many vegetables — some 90 all told — without which humanity would be nutritionally impoverished. Yet shortages are a possibility we are confronting, as bee populations in America have declined in recent years for reasons that seem to be both diverse and elusive. Colony collapse disorder, as whatever it is is called, was first reported in 2006 and has spread globally. Many viruses, parasites, and pesticides have been implicated, but no smoking gun has emerged.”

Full article can be found here.

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Hive Energy offers free Apiary sites for BBKA members

Hive Energy are still looking for Beekeepers to help improve their environmental credentials, so if you want a Fee Apiary site, see below.

Hive Energy is one of Britain’s leading solar farm developers. The company started in 2009 by building solar installations on commercial roof-tops across southern England, including the largest solar roof in the south west at Plymouth’s Airport Centre.

“Hive Energy is asking members of the British Beekeepers Association to build an apiary on each of our solar farms under development. We will provide a suitable 30m x 5m fenced and separately gated area with space for 10 hives and a shed for storage so that every Hive Energy solar farm will be a “s-honey” place for bees.”

For the full story see the BBKA website

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Bee themed accessories

Hello bee keepers,
I found this fun website recently and thought some of our members may appreciate these bee themed accessories, shirts, hats and other stuff to protect their phones and other electronics from the ravages of the apiary.

I especially like the T-shirt that says “Don’t come any closer or you will notice that I am actually just a giant swarm of extremely well organized bees” At least when someone asks you what you want for your birthday you can say either the shirt or the swarm ??

shirtFor those with an uncontrollable habit of collecting all things bee related, er…..sorry!


Bee themed accessories

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Winter feeding of honey bees

With the wet and windy weather here have a look at this simple guide to winter feeding from the Edinburgh beekeepers website it will help ensure your bees are well fed over the cold wet winter

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Bees and other pollinators: their value and health in England

The UK government report into bees and pollinators and their benefit to the environment, the UK government recognises the contribution that bees make. See the full report here.

Bees and pollinators review.

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The wet weather continues into 2014!!

The current spell of wet and windy weather continues into 2014, please double check your hives check your hives regularly and consider checking their feed levels if a suitable weather window arrives!

See the Met office weather forecast or download their “App” for your phone.

BBC Weather warnings

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