Rugby Bee Keepers Association maintain an apiary with a view to assisting the members, particularly new ones, with developing their bee keeping skills.

The apiary needs weekly checks through the swarm season, and regular visits to monitor health, space, stores, health etc. through the rest of the year.

Experienced bee keepers are the providers of these inspections and in doing so they create a location where less experienced keepers can learn by observation, discussion and gain practical experience.

In 2016, there were 2 hives in the Spring, which expanded to 4 hives during the swarm season. After the strong start to the season, the bees did not behave as anticipated, 2 of the hives were combined, so there are 3 strong colonies going into the winter.

The intention is to maintain an apiary in the immediate locality which will provide beginners with a teaching facility. Where they can learn amongst other things:

• Whether they are comfortable around bees prior to becoming owners.

• Find out what equipment RBKA use to see if it suits them.

• See a colony other than their own in the locality.

• What space is needed for an apiary.

• Using a smoker.

• Assess the health of a hive.

• Gain from the experience of others.

• Get an idea of the weight and size of boxes that will need to be moved.

• Handle frames of bees.

• Problems and the treatments.

Members of RBKA will be informed of when inspections are being carried out and are welcome to come along and help or hinder. Please let me know if there is anything particular that you would like to have discussed.


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  • Julian Parker – Head of APHA’s National Bee Unit.
    23 November 2020
    Following a recent recruitment process Julian Parker has been appointed as Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU) within Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Within the NBU Julian has previously been Acting Head as well as National Bee Inspector and before that Regional Bee Inspector for Southern and South East Regions. Julian has over 12 years operational experience with the NBU including leading outbreak situations. Julian is also well known in the wider beekeeping community and his expertise is highly respected across Defra and Welsh Government as well as with Bee Health stakeholders. He has also played a key role in the review of the 2020 Healthy Bees Plan and will now play a significant role in delivering the Healthy Bee Plan 2030. Many congratulations Julian.
  • Email issues
    16 November 2020
    If you have sent an email to nbu@apha.gov.uk between the 10th November and the 16th November, due to a system failure your message has not been received. Please resend your messages, we apologise for the inconvenience.
  • Healthy Bees Plan 2030 Published
    03 November 2020
    Defra, Welsh Government and the National Bee Unit have worked with stakeholders to produce a review of progress made under the Healthy Bees Plan, a ten-year plan introduced in 2009 to improve honey bee health across England and Wales. Following this review, a new plan entitled the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 has been published today to carry on this important work.

    Welcoming the new plan, Nicola Spence, Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health at Defra, said:

    I am delighted that today we are publishing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 which is Defra’s and Welsh Government’s joint framework for continued action to improve honey bee health in England and Wales over the next ten years. Protecting our honey bees is vital because of the benefits they bring through pollination of flowers and crops, honey production and our well-being. Bee health stakeholders have had a key role in developing this new Healthy Bees Plan and we look forward to continuing to work together as we implement the plan.

    Ceri Witchard, Deputy Director for Land, Nature and Forestry at Welsh Government, said:

    The Healthy Bees Plan 2009 was published with the aim of achieving a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Wales and England. Our overall aim has not changed. However, the experiences we have gained and the relationships we have built within the Bee Health Advisory Forum now put us in a firmer position to face new risks and challenges to honey bees. I am grateful to the Forum and other stakeholders for their commitment and contributions in developing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030.