As beekeepers we are in a uniquely advantageous position to either trap or sight the Asian Hornet ‘Vespa Velutina’ and this is vital to preserve honeybees and other pollinating insects in the UK.

Asian hornets were initially brought to France in 2004, most likely in a shipment of pottery imported from east Asia. Since arriving in France, the species has spread rapidly and decimated pollinators, partiularly honeybees, in that country.

Read more: Asian Hornet

We all know the damaging effects that the appropriately named parasitic mite Varroa destructor can have on our honey bee colonies. The mites attach themselves to the bees and their larvae and feed on their host’s haemolymph. In their phoretic stage, they are transported on adult bees, and can thus spread between bees within the hive and between colonies through the processes of drifting, robbing and swarming of the bees.

Read more: Fungal Extracts Reduce Viruses in Honeybee Colonies?

Staffordshire Hoard Helmet reconstruction. © Image Copyright Birmingham Museums Trust

Rugby Beekeepers Association were approached in 2018 by Pieta Greaves of Drakon Heritage and Conservation. They were looking for local beeswax that could be used in a project focusing on reconstructions of a high-status helmet contained within the Staffordshire Hoard. The project aimed to showcase how the original may have looked and to provide valuable research on the methods used in its construction and evidence of beeswax was found in the original objects during research in both the crest and on the lower design panel.

Read more: Beeswax Benefits Hoard Helmet

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  • Email Issues
    23 May 2019
    Please be aware we are currently experiencing issues with emails to nbu@apha.gov.uk

    In the interim, please direct email correspondence to nbuoffice@apha.gov.uk

    We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • Swarms of honeybees
    15 May 2019
    The National Bee Unit has been receiving a large amount of calls regarding honey bee swarms. Please note that we do not deal with swarms, however, you may find the following advice useful in re-directing your enquiry:

    First of all it is important to establish what sort of insect it is. Usually, beekeepers are only willing to assist with honey bees. The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) website holds list of volunteer Swarm Collectors and has a very useful identification and guidance page.
  • E-Learning Module - Technical Issues
    09 May 2019
    Please note we are experiencing technical issues with our online e-learning courses.

    This has been reported to IT and is under investigation.

    Please accept our apologies for this and we will advise when they are back up and running.