British Beekeepers Association


British Beekeepers Association

Press Releases & Statements

BBKA Press Officer: Diane Roberts  07841 625797

Press Release

Competition for Kids: Win a Free Signed Book

We are buzzing about Bee Boy: Clash of the Killer Queens, a brand new book by Tony De Saulles, the illustrator of the bestselling Horrible Science series. Bee Boy is the story of one boy’s rise to superhero status as he defends his hive against killer wasps, terrifying hawkmoths, and battling Queen Bees. It is packed full of amazing bee facts and celebrates the viral role bees play in our environment.

BBKA are exciting to be hosting an exclusive competition for three BBKA members to win a signed copy of Bee Boy. To enter send the publishers your best drawing of a bee and give it a speech bubble telling us an interesting bee fact! The entries will be judged by the author Tony De Saulles.


Email your drawing to [email protected] or send by post to: Hannah Penny, Children’s Books, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX26DP.


Don’t forget to include your name, age, address and a contact email address/phone number so that we can get in touch with you if you win. Entries must be received by 28 February 2018. Terms and conditions at


Update to BBKA Statement on Neonicotinoid Pesticides - 9th November 2017


This statement provides an update on the position of the British Beekeepers Association in relation to the EU ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides released on 30th June 2017. This update follows a statement made by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on 9th November 2017 BBKA Comments

The BBKA has maintained that the policy of both the UK and the EU should be led by sound science. It is encouraged to note that Mr Gove’s comments are based on the updated advice of the UK’s Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) which has been released today.

They have concluded that:

• Exposure to neonicotinoids under field conditions can have an unacceptable effect on honeybee health.

• Such unacceptable effects are occurring at a landscape level and between seasons.

• These neonicotinoid pesticides are relatively persistent in the environment and can occur in non-target plants foraged by bees.

• Wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) are negatively affected by exposure to neonicotinoid residues from across the landscape.

The position of the BBKA has, and continues to be ‘That, until there is convincing independent scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are not harmful to honey bees, the BBKA will support the continuation of the EU moratorium on their use.’

The advice to ministers indicates that Neonicotinoid pesticides are causing harm to both pollinators in general, honey bees in particular and equally importantly the overall environment. This means that the BBKA will support the continuation of the moratorium on their use and would support an overall banning of their use. The UK government position which will feed into the European discussion is likely to have a significant impact as they were one of the few voices arguing against the moratorium originally, making it more likely that EU wide ban will be extended or made permanent.

The BBKA was pleased to be involved in discussions across a wide range of farming related sectors about how the regulatory regime would evolve as the UK leaves the EU. We were encouraged that the government is thinking about the importance of pollinators in general and honeybees in particular in the context of Brexit. Equally we are pleased that the government is offering to work with farmers to develop an alternative approach to treating crops. We remain concerned however that any alternative treatments used do not cause harm to honeybees and other pollinators

We will continue to update both our members and the public as the current debate evolves.

Martin Smith Director of Communications

[email protected]

9th November 2017

Press Release

"Depressingly small honey crop" from British Beekeepers

The honey crop from British beekeepers remains depressingly small, just 24 lbs or approaching 11 kilos per hive, pointing to a steady decline in the crop and an increase in worries about the future of honey bees

The results of the British Beekeepers Association’s annual Honey Survey released today reveal that the average beekeeper in England produced 23.8 lbs (10.8 kilos) of honey this year – a decrease of 2.3 lbs over last year’s crop.

Press Release

British Beekeepers Losing Few bees over Winter

British​ ​Beekeepers’​ ​Association​ ​(BBKA)​ ​10​th​ ​Annual​ ​Colony​ ​Survival​ ​Survey results​ ​are​ ​published​ ​today​ ​and​ ​show​ ​a​ ​reduction​ ​in​ ​the​ ​over-winter​ ​losses compared​ ​to​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​year,​ ​down​ ​from​ ​16.7%​ ​to​ ​13.2%.

Press Release

First Asian Hornet confirmed on UK mainland in North Devon

26 September 2017


The first confirmed sighting of an Asian Hornet on the UK mainland in 2017 is in North Devon.



A beekeeper near Woolacombe in North Devon saw an Asian Hornet hawking in front of his hives and also gathering nectar from ivy.


The beekeeper submitted his evidence to the National Beekeeping Unit (NBU)  and they have confirmed that it is an Asian Hornet.  


Inspectors from the NBU are now on their way to Devon to back up local colleagues in the urgent task of tracking down the nest.


All beekeepers in the area are advised to check their own hives and look out for any signs of Asian Hornets nesting.


Recent finds on the Channel Islands suggest that they not only place their nests at height in trees but also use a quiet spot in a garden shed from time to time to build their living spaces.




Updated BBKA statement on Neonicotinoids

This statement provides an update on the BBKA’s position on the above debate follow the release of two scientific studies into the effects of neonicotinoids on honey and wild bees. In particular it refers to the study by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) that was referred to in our background paper issued March 2017

Press Release

Bidfood catering suppliers is backing British Bees

The British Beekeepers' Association is delighted that catering supply company Bidfood has launched a campaign to support British bees.

Press Release

192 Million Seeds for Honeybees

The BBKA is distributing 1,000kg of flower seeds, free to members, at its annual Spring Convention in Shropshire. Donated by Burts Bees, as part of its ‘BringBackTheBees’ campaign, approximately 192 million seeds have been specially selected to provide a pollen and nectar-rich diet for honeybees and other pollinators.

Press Release

Tell local Beekeepers if you find an Asian Hornet

A new smartphone app has been launched today to help beekeepers and the public make a quicker report if they find a suspected Asian Hornet.

Asian Hornet Watch is designed to give you high quality reference pictures and use the GPS on your phone to record exactly where your photo was taken. It will be sent straight to the team that is working to identify the hornets as quickly as possible. It is available as a free download from today for both android and IOS phones.

The BBKA will be encouraging all beekeepers to use the app but to also tell their local groups if they find something.


BBKA Statement on the EU wide ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides

As and when this evidence is published the BBKA would expect to review both it and the recommendations of the EFSA and advise our members accordingly.

Press Release

England Team of Young Beekeepers Chosen for IMYB 2017

In July 2017 the competition will take place for the first time in England at Marlborough College, Wiltshire. It is being run by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). Over 3 days young people from countries all over the world will have a great opportunity to share and learn from each other the essential skills to further the craft of beekeeping.

Press Release

Honey Survey 2016

BBKA's annual survey shows that honey bees overcame summer starvation threats to provide an average 26lbs of honey per hive. The East remains Englands most productive region. 


Asian Hornet found in Somerset -update 4

An Asian Hornet has been confirmed north of the Mendips in Somerset. The National Bee Unit is setting up a second 3 mile surveillance area and local control centre to hunt for hornets and their nest. 


How to help Honey Bees survive the winter

Good beekeeping practice involves the following actions to get ready for winter. 

Press Release

Asian Hornet nest found in Tetbury and destroyed

A nest of Asian hornets has been found in Tetbury and destroyed by experts. Continued vigilance for further sightings is advised. 


Asian Hornet update 2

Asian hornets have been found at 6 apiaries within 500 metres of the original discovery in Tetbury in Gloucestershire. The National Bee Unit says it is still searching for a nest. 


Asian hornets seen near more hives in Gloucestershire

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) was found by a beekeeper in the Tetbury area last week and other beekeepers in the immediate area have since seen hornets hawking in front of their hives. A 20 km incident zone has been imposed by Defra and the National Bee Unit ( NBU) is currently locating the nest. If they find it they will destroy it.

Press Release

Houses of Parliament Honey Fair

MPs and members of the public are being invited to attend the Houses of Parliament Bee Fair at Portcullis House of Wednesday 14 September from 3-5pm


Fifty beehives Adopted from BBKA by Leicestershire catering company

Wilson Vale, a Leicestershire catering company has adopted 50 beehives through the BBKA's fundraising scheme Adopt a Beehive. 

Press Release

BeeConnected goes live across the UK

A new web-based crop spray alert system called BeeConnected has gone live bringing farmers and beekeepers together across the UK. 

Press Release


A new web-based crop spray alerting system, BeeConnected, that links farmers and beekeepers has been hailed as a major step forward for protecting honey bees by the British Beekeepers Association. 

Press Release


3 young beekeepers are about to compete at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in Czech Republic and the BBKA is hoping to bring the meeting to the UK in 2017. 

Press Release

Belvoir Fruit Farms Free Summer Recipes

Belvoir Fruit Farms is celebrating the Elderflower harvest and supporting the BBKA's Friends of the Honey bee by giving us two free, delicious, elderflower recipes


BeeConnected Crop Spray Pilot Scheme

BeeConnected, online crop spray alert, is based on a BBKA proposal to bring crop spray alerting into the 21st century. 25th April marks the start of a pilot of the system in Hertfordshire. BBKA hopes that all Herts beekeepers will register and take part. 

Press Release


Wrong weather and queen issues affect 2015 honey crop

Survey shows average yield of 21lbs of honey per colony this year, down 34 per cent from last year


Annual Winter Survival Survey

A summary of the results of the BBKA 8th annual winter survival survey published today 25 June 2015 


Further update Small Hive Beetle

See latest statement on Small Hive Beetle (SHB) and Importation of Honey bees and hive products


DEFRA Statement on Small Hive Beetle

Here is the latest from Defra  on Small Hive Beetle.

A DEFRA Brochure will be published here as well.

The Excecutive Committee of BBKA will discuss this on Saturday 28 March 2015.


DEFRA Brochure on Small Hive Beetle

Here is the DEFRA Brochure on Small Hive Beetle whcih will also be discussed by the BBKA Executive Committee on Saturday 28 March 2015.


Importation of honey bees from Italy

Note to BBKA members 

Monday 23 February 2015 

You may read or receive information advertising the exportation of honey bee colonies from Southern Italy into the UK.

The advertisement makes reference to the fact that the bees will be exported with a health certificate.

We have asked the UK authorities what special measures they intend to take to ensure that these exported bees from Italy will not pose a health risk to the UK honeybee population in view of the occurrence of Small Hive Beetle in parts of Southern Italy.

Dr David Aston NDB



National Pollinator Strategy

BBKA welcomes the publication of the National Pollinator Strategy; this is the start of a long road to improving the ‘lot’ of pollinators; the BBKA will continue to play its part in the process and welcomes the broader involvement of other groups joining the cause.


Update: Small Hive Beetle

Based on comms with UK authorities, including the National Bee Unit and the Defra Chief Plant Health Officer, since expressing our deep concerns at the Bee Health Advisory Forum on 23 Sept.


Call to Action - national pollinator strategy

This morning (Friday 18 July) Lord de Mauley (Defra Minister) announced the Call to Action for the national pollinator strategy on the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

This call to action prepares the ground for the more detailed announcement to be made in the autumn on the practical aspects of the implementation of the strategy.

There is a website which will be developed further. The site lists the partner organisations which are actively participating in the development and implementation of the strategy.

The BBKA is a key stakeholder in the work of the Pollinator Advisory Steering Group which will be part of the governance of the way in which the strategy will be implemented.

The theme of the pollinator strategy is Bees’ Needs: food and home and is intended to cover all pollinator insects, not just bees.

The BBKA and its member associations have long advocated the need to be aware of the way habitat change can determine the success or otherwise of pollinator species and fully supports the following simple elements of the strategy.

  1. Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
  2. Let it grow wild
  3. Cut grass less often
  4. Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots
  5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

More information on what is being discussed can be found on the website .

Our Forage and the Landscape Special Interest Day and the work being done by the BBKA and its member associations in promoting land management changes which will benefit honey bees and all pollinators demonstrates beekeeper’s commitments and we look forward to playing our role in the implementation of the pollinator strategy as it evolves.

Please note the full details of the National Pollinator Strategy will be issued in the autumn.

Dr David Aston, BBKA President



Withdrawal by Syngenta of the application for the emergency use of a neonicotinoid for seed treatment

The BBKA understands that Syngenta has withdrawn its application for a derogation to allow the emergency use this autumn of their product Cruiser in a neonicotinoid seed treatment for oil seed rape.

The BBKA remains concerned as to the alternative treatments farmers will have to use to control pests such as flea beetle on oil seed rape in view of the continuing moratorium in place on the use of neonicotinoids.

It continues to seek reassurances that the protection of honey bees is a key consideration in all uses of crop protection products.

 NB this is complete text of statement



Possible UK Derogation on the use of a neonicotinoid on oil seed rape

To BBKA Members:

You may have read in the press or been contacted and requested to sign a petition concerning an application made by Syngenta to obtain derogation from the UK government to enable them to use their active substance (thiamethoxam) on oil seed rape. This had been reported as the UK government seeking to break the EU wide ban on the use of neonicotinoids.

We understand that the company made an application for a limited use of the product because of problems in the control of flea beetle on oil seed rape. Flea beetle is also resistant to pyrethroid insecticides which are an alternative choice to neonicotinoids for the control of flea beetle.

In order to obtain the derogation the company has to go through the specified regulatory process including the Chemicals Regulations Directorate, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides before Ministers consider granting permission.

We do not know the precise nature of the derogation being sought (for example it may be for limited geographical areas or there may be additional product stewardship requirements to be met).

We understand a number of other EU countries either have already granted derogations or are considering applications for derogation.

We will communicate further information as soon as we receive it.

David Aston

Chair BBKA Technical and Environmental Committee

26 June 2014

NB this is complete text of statement

Press Release

Honey bee colony winter survival rate greatly improves

The 2013/14 winter was kinder to bees but losses at 10% were still double what they should be.

The results of the BBKA winter survival survey published today show that the honey bee colony survival rate in England over this last winter has improved greatly. Overall, honey bee colony losses were one in ten compared with losses of more than one in three over the bad winter of 2012/2013.


Statement re Paper, Godfray et al

Statement re Paper: ‘A restatement of the natural science evidence base concerning neonicotinoid insecticides and insect pollinators’, Godfray et al

Press Release

BBKA to part fund three-year PhD studentship

Laura Brettell to study the key drivers behind over-wintering honey bee colony losses in the UK.

Press Release

Honey I am just doing what comes naturally

Honey bee swarms are not angry and are unlikely to attack - BBKA advice on what the public can do to help


BBKA calls for more funding and research to ensure good honey bee health

A paper published in 'Nature' today entitled ‘Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators’ by M. A. Furst, D. P. McMahon, J. L. Osborne, R. J. Paxton & M. J. F. Brown, reviews research carried out into the exchange of pests and pathogens between bee species.

Bumblebees and honey bees will often visit the same flowers, so it is not surprising that questions have been raised about the exchange of pests and pathogens from one bee species to another. However, the research paper does not fully explain the situation and may give a misleading impression.


Further update on GM pollen in honey

Parliament clarifies labelling rules for honey if contaminated by GM pollen

The European Parliament today (Wednesday 15 January 2014) voted on draft labelling rules for honey if contaminated by GM pollen. Parliament endorsed the draft rules defining pollen as a natural constituent of honey rather than an ingredient. For the full European Parliament press release see here.

The BBKA will keep members informed on the progress of this process.


Health Risks to Honey Bees from Imported Bumblebee Colonies

Honey bees may be facing additional threats to their health as a result of the importation of commercial bumblebee colonies. 

Press Release

Honey bee colony losses are the worst since winter survival survey began

A third of all honey bee colonies in England were lost over the winter of 2012/2013 – more than double the losses of the previous year – with increased losses recorded in all regions of England


Neonicotinoids - the New Regulation

The European Commission has now published the Implementing Regulation to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. (Statement includes link to EU document.)


Further update on neonicotinoids

BBKA continues to work hard to ensure that the interests of honey bees are a high priority.


EU vote on the neonicotinoid group of pesticides

The BBKA awaits with interest the outcome of the EU vote on the neonicotinoid group of pesticides. 

Press Release

British Honey Harvest Devastated by Poor Weather

BBKA 2012 Honey Survey highlights 72% drop in average yield to just 8 lbs per hive



Update on neonicotinoids

In recent months a number of research papers have been published which suggest that neonicotinoid insecticides can have sub-lethal effects on bees. In addition some interested organisations have called for a ban or suspension on the use of neonicotinoids.

The BBKA’s position has been to press the government and its regulatory agencies to review this research work and if necessary to make changes to the approvals covering the use of neonicotinoids as soon as possible. 


Re further research on neonicotinoid pesticides and bees

The BBKA reiterates its call for an urgent review of all the available data on the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees.

Press Release

BBKA launches pollination dating

The BBKA unveiled its pollination dating service at the Edible Garden Show today. 

Farmers, smallholders, allotment holders and gardeners to benefit from more abundant crops.

Press Release

International Competition for Young Beekeepers

Three young British Beekeepers are about to compete in an International Meeting of Young Beekeepers and the BBKA is bringing the competition to Britain for the first time next year. 

Press Release

Winter Survival Survey 2016

The 2016 BBKA Winter Survival Survey shows that honey bees are still under pressure.