Part 9 ‘Local Rules & Regulations’

Part 9    ‘Local Rules & Regulations’

If you want 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 that 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 foulbrood (AFB), European foulbrood (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 Bee Base, 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 to be resolved, 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.