Copper Bee Apiary

A garden apiary in Whittlesford, Cambridge, UK - honey bees and their beekeeper Hilary van der Hoff.

The Bee Inspector

The Bee Inspector visited us today. There has been a disease outbreak identified in our local area, so nearby colonies - or at least nearby registered colonies, which is not the same thing - are being inspected on behalf of the National Bee Unit (part of the government). The disease is European Foulbrood (EFB), a notifiable disease.

The good news is, all our hives have been given the all clear. Thank goodness. I am also pleased to say that the Copper Hive drew special praise from the Bee Inspector. It is a strong colony with an excellent queen.

Bees fly where they will, so it is impossible for a beekeeper to fully guard against disease, however strict their own biosecurity measures. We have to be continually vigilant. Pockets of disease break out in an area, originating for example through imported honey or imported bees, and will spread if not caught early. If there is an irresponsible beekeeper who does not check his/her hives and is not registered with the National Bee Unit, an infection can fester in their apiary and spread to others, especially in cities where the density of hives is high. Do not imagine that all beekeepers are "saving the bees" - in some cases they are doing quite the opposite.

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