8. Local Rules and Regulations

If you wish to keep bees in the UK then you need to abide by the local and national rules and regulations for beekeeping. The principle UK legislation regarding beekeeping is the 1980 Bees Act. This legislation was introduced to control, inspect and treat the various pests and diseases which affect honeybee colonies throughout the UK. The 1980 Bees Act enables the Ministers or the Secretary of State to create Orders which will control pests and diseases. The Act also enables these Ministers or the Secretary of State to grant authorised persons the power to remove and/or destroy bee colonies which are infested with harmful pests or diseases. Under the act, the FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency) National Bee Unit is deemed responsible for apiary surveillance as well as pests and disease control across England and Wales.

A series of statutory orders have been established since the introduction of the 1980 Bees Act. The most notable of these orders is the Bee Diseases and Pests Control Order of 2006. The Order was introduced in order to replace the Bee Diseases Control Order of 1982 and revoke the Importation of Bees Order of 1997. The Order lists in detail the various pests and diseases for which statutory action must be taken to control them. Amongst these pests and diseases are included American foul brood (AFB), European foul brood (EFB), and the Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida) and Tropilaelaps mites – the latter two not yet being a threat to British bees. Within the Order are both revised and new measures on how to treat these diseases should an infestation occur. As well as national and local rules and regulations, there are also a series of beekeeping associations, local groups and training courses which you can use to broaden your beekeeping experience and expertise. Organisations such as BeeBase, the Bee Farmers Association, the National Farmers Union and the British Beekeepers' Association offer advice and ongoing support to both small- and large-scale beekeepers. For instance, the British Beekeeper's Association is a registered charity which was founded in 1874. To this day, this association represents the interests of 24,000 amateur beekeepers and the 3 billion honey bees for which they care. Furthermore, if you have a particular issue which you need resolved, then you can contact the Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI). As well as funding research into various bee diseases and offering training courses on how to treat diseases, the BDI provides insurance for the replacement of beekeeping equipment if it has been destroyed as a direct result of a virulent beekeeping disease such as European Foulbrood or American Foulbrood. If you wish to consolidate your knowledge of beekeeping, there are several training courses on offer. You can study for and receive a National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) as well as attend various other short term and advanced courses. Moreover, if you wish to remain informed of the latest beekeeping news and phenomena, you can subscribe to various beekeeping magazines and online journals. Some of the most popular beekeeping resources include:

http://www.beediseasesinsurance.co.uk/, BeeCraft Bees for Development, Bees Abroad
http://www.beesabroad.org.uk/, International Bee Research Association (IBRA)
http://www.ibra.org.uk/, The Beekeepers Quarterly and the Swiss Bee Research Centre

9. Useful Links

If you have any further questions regarding beekeeping and how to maintain the health of your honey bee colony, there are a variety of websites which you can visit. These online resources can provide you with relevant advice and support according to your individual beekeeping practices. Irrespective of the scale of your hive or the type of equipment which you use, these informative websites can offer advice on how to improve the productivity of your hive and the particular resources from which you can benefit:

The National Bee Unit Website
The British Beekeeper's Association
UK Governmental policies on beekeeping and bee health
Beekeeping discussion forum
Protective clothing and accessories
How bees make honey
Beekeeping supplies
Books on beekeeping
Beekeeping journals and magazines
How to purchase beehives and other equipment online
How to make your own top bar bee hive
How to assemble a beehive box or super