On Friday 4th October a nest was destroyed following the confirmed sighting of an Asian hornet near Christchurch, Dorset after it was reported by a member of the public.

It is imperative that any Asian hornet colonies in the UK are detected and destroyed before queens are released.

Read more: Asian Hornet Alert!

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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  • 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.