Honey Bee Health
Honey bees and other insect pollinators are vital for pollinating the crops on which much of our food chain depends.
The honey bee has always faced challenges, partly due to the unwanted attention of predators seeking the sweet rewards of the hive. Today's honey bees face a modern set of threats, ranging from a depletion in forage caused by intensive farming; highly effective insecticides and a series of pests and diseases, many of which are fast tracked around the planet by imports and exports of bee colonies.
The National Bee Unit (NBU) delivers Bee Health Programmes on behalf of the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) in England and Wales. The NBU provides a series of advisory leaflets, training manuals and fact sheets which can help beekeepers care for their livestock. The NBU also employs a series of Regional and Seasonal Bee Inspectors, the contact details can be found here, with Buckinghamshire being part of the "Southern England" region. All suspected notifiable pests and diseases should be reported by the beekeeper to the bee inspectors.
In order for NBU inspectors to concentrate on foul brood and other statutory threats, Chalfonts Beekeepers' Society is delighted that Deborah Campbell, who is a Master Beekeeper, has agreed to be our "Bee Health Monitor". Most bee disease problems can be alleviated by good management. Novice beekeepers in their first few years are often unsure whether they have a serious problem and the availability of a good mentor who can offer reassurance and guidance on good practice can be very valuable. Any local beekeeper who is concerned about disease in a colony is encouraged to contact our Bee Health Monitor in the first instance. Deborah can be contacted by email. Please attach one or more photographs of the problem you have encountered.
Note that Bee Health Monitors are fellow beekeepers who are offering their help voluntarily. Bee Health Monitors have no formal connection with the National Bee Unit and possess no statutory authority. Visits to a beekeepers apiary will take place only if mutually convenient with the beekeeper and Bee Health Monitor. Bee Health Monitors will respect the confidentiality of beekeepers who contact them. If foul brood or any statutory condition is suspected, the onus remains with the beekeeper to report this to an NBU inspector.