Hive number 8 came through the winter well. However. It became apparent that the colony was not building up.

The queen appeared sluggish and the laying pattern was not all it could be. I decided to introduce a new queen from British stock from an acknowledged breeder.

 The queen was introduced in the appropriate way. I dispatched the old green queen on my branch – the myth being if you squeeze the queen on a branch this will form an attraction for swarms to attach– 4 queens over last 4 years no good so far.

When I checked a week later much to my frustration the new queen was nowhere to be seen. I closed the hive to sort out next week. The bee inspector was coming in 3 days.

I was telling the inspector of my bad luck in losing my new queen as he inspected the comb. He simply pointed out the queen, not the new marked one.

The colony had presumably also realised the old queen was failing and superseded. It appeared the two queens had fought as the right rear wing was somewhat chewed and not moving correctly. But she appeared to be laying well.

Sadly the ending was not happy. Wonky winged queen stopped laying as well and on inspection had a paralysed right rear leg. The poor pattern because many of the eggs were ending up at the side and being removed by the workers.

She has had to be replaced and has gone to the tree of swarms.


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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.