NBU Wales inspections during Covid-19 restrictions

Message from Frank Gellatly about NBU inspections in Wales during the Covid-19 pandemic

All members of Beekeeping Associations should have received the government guidance on “Covid-19 and Beekeeping” which makes it clear that you should continue to care for your bees in the normal manner and that it is perfectly acceptable to visit out apiaries as necessary. When doing so you should maintain a safe distance from anybody else outside your household. The biosecurity measures we should all be practicing to minimise the risk of spreading bee disease (eg: disposable gloves; not sharing equipment such as hive tools and smokers; sterilising equipment between apiaries; etc.) should be even more rigorously applied as they will also reduce the risk of Coronavirus infection.

The National Bee Unit’s bee inspection service is continuing during the Covid-19 restrictions but on a priority level, concentrating on things like: areas at highest risk of foulbrood infection, sales or movement of bees, call-outs from beekeepers with suspect problems and maintaining alert for exotic pests. Routine inspections in areas of low risk will not be conducted during the government restrictions on non-essential travel. So far in 2020 cases of each EFB and AFB have been detected in SE Wales, in areas with little recent disease the inspectors are able to devote more time to lower-level risks such as inspecting the colonies of new beekeepers in their first year or so with bees. This is not only to introduce the NBU service but also to check where the bees have come from and thoroughly inspect any stocks brought in from elsewhere.

While the inspectors are unable to undertake routine inspections, beekeepers are asked to be extra vigilant for disease in their own colonies. At least twice a year you should do an inspection specifically looking for brood disease. To do this you’ll need to examine each frame containing brood. From each brood frame in turn, carefully shake the bees off the frame into the brood box and examine the brood, looking first at the larvae in the open cells and then at the cappings of the sealed cells containing developing pupae. Guidance on what to look for can be found in most beekeeping books and very comprehensive guidance on bee health can be found on Beebase ( www.nationalbeeunit.com ). If you see anything of concern then take photos and seek advice from a mentor or experienced beekeeper. You are welcome to contact your Seasonal Bee Inspector, using the postcode search facility on Beebase below. If you suspect your colonies might have foulbrood you must contact the Inspector.

We will remain available and on-call to beekeepers and will be making telephone contact with beekeepers, particularly those who’ve not been visited for some time, to keep our records up to date and to encourage you all to maintain vigilance for bee diseases. So please be vigilant. Thank you.

Frank Gellatly francis.gellatly@apha.gov.uk 07775 119480

http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/public/Contacts/contacts.cfm

Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Message from Lynda Christie, Welsh Beekeepers’ Association (WBKA) Chairperson

Dear Member,

The impact of Coronavirus has seen the regrettable cancellation of the WBKA Convention 2020 and the cancellation of the March Module examinations.

Your associations courses, talks, and meetings will be curtailed during this crisis, but I am sure local associations and groups will check in on their more vulnerable members, especially those who may be confined and unable to check their out apiaries. Please do give support to your fellow members within your areas and keep in touch with a phone call, online or email, or other means available.

I have spoken to our regional Bee inspector for Wales, Frank Gellatly, for a position on Bee inspector visits and inspections this season and a view on Beekeepers attending out apiaries in the event of a further lock-down due to the virus.

Frank has said that as it stands Inspections starting 1st April will go ahead albeit adhering to Government guidelines on social isolation. Beekeeping tends to be carried out mostly as a solitary exercise so this should not be too difficult.

As for travelling to our out apiaries, there is no curtailment currently, but Frank will raise the matter of travel to out apiaries at the next NBU meeting and will keep us informed of any further developments.

The trustees and myself have the best interests of Welsh Beekeepers and will support you where we can and endeavour to keep you informed through our web site and associations.

I hope this unprecedented situation improves so we can get back to enjoying our Beekeeping season.

Lynda Christie (Chair)

Urgent Warning to PBKA Members

Would PBKA members please note that there has been an outbreak of EFB in the St David’s area and an outbreak of AFB in the Wisemans Bridge area. The information relating to this is on Beebase at http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/public/BeeDiseases/efbReport.cfm

We have been advised by the Regional Bee Inspector for Wales to direct you to the National Bee Unit (NBU) factsheet Apiary_Hygiene_and_Quarantine for your information and action. Also ‘Foulbrood Disease of Honey Bees and other common brood disorders’ has a lot of information on biosecurity and barrier management, including ‘10 rules for foulbrood control’. These are on Beebase at:

http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

We strongly recommend that all PBKA members sign up to Beebase in order to ensure that they receive any warnings and to obtain advice etc in the event of a disease outbreak.

Beekeepers within 3km of the outbreak with a current email address on Beebase will have been emailed an alert from the NBU. All beekeepers within 5km of an outbreak should exercise vigilance as per the above factsheet, which also covers swarm collection.

Please also note that we will be holding a National Bee Unit Beekeeper Advice Surgery on July 15th at the Picton Centre, Haverfordwest which will cover bee diseases and details on this can be obtained NBU Advice Surgeries Flyer 2017. Specific details re times etc to follow in due course and we would urge you all to attend.