Romsey and District Beekeepers' Association

If you become aware of a honey bee swarm, please visit our swarm page for contact numbers.
You will also find information on theat web page to help you check whether the 'swarm' is honey bees or another insect. Our Association has swarm collection officers, whose contact details you will find there.
The British Beekeepers Association have an excellent website where you can enter your postcode to find the nearest swarm collector.
Crop Spraying
Farmers -
Insecticides exist to harm unwanted insects but great care must be taken to avoid the insects that you don't want to harm.
Pollinating insects can be covered in the spray, or can pick up the chemical when visiting flowers that have been sprayed, or weeds in the sprayed area.
Please avoid spraying crops or weeds that are in bloom, and please spray only early in the day or late, or on cloudy damp days when pollinators are not flying.
Some chemicals, while not killing insects such as honey bees, can do significant harm and can destroy the colony.
The Pesticides Safety Directorate, part of the Health and Safety Executive, publishes information about pesticides at www.pesticides.gov.uk. Their helpline provides important up-to-date information on safety with regard to bees and other pollinators, and information about pesticide mixes which farmers might be using.
If you would like to report a planned spaying event, please use BeeConnected, which is a secure and confidential website hosted by the Crop Protection Association. It will notify all local beekeers on its register of any planned spraying.
Beekeepers -
Please talk to local farmers to make them aware of the dangers of spraying. All chemicals that are toxic to bees will, by law, have that stated on the label. Encourage farmers to contact you or BeeConnected (see below) 48 hours before they intend to spray so that bees can be secured the night before. Make sure that your bees have adequate ventilation (but not directly from the spray area) and clean water; a wet sponge in a shallow bowl inside the hive is good.
Spraying is best done when bees are not flying - early in the morning or later in the evening, or when the weather is damp. Hives can be opened up again once the spray has dried, but be prepared for very angry bees!
If you are not yet registered with BeeConnected please use this link to make sure you are notified of any planned spraying within 5km of your hives. It is safe and secure.
Spraying Incidents -
To report an unplanned spraying incident in the Romsey area, please email our secretary at rdbkasec@gmail.com
If you suspect your colonies have suffered loss as a consequence of a spray event please contact your local Seasonal Bee Inspector (see below) and they will guide you through the procedure for reporting this and sending samples for analysis.
Vespa Velutina - the Asian Hornet
This insect arrived by accident in the south of France in 2005, since when it has thrived and migrated through all regions of western Europe. It was first sighted in the UK in 2016 and in 2018 there were 9 confirmed sightings. It predates honey bee colonies, and many other of our native insects.
Please visit our web page about Asian Hornets or the National Bee Unit web pages about Asian Hornets.
A queen Asian Hornet is up to 30 mm in length and is 7 mm wide. It looks for somewhere to build a new colony very early in Spring. All beekeepers are advised to put Asian Hornet traps wherever they have bees. An Asian Hornet colony will wipe out a honey bee colony in a few hours.
DO NOT IGNORE THIS INSECT - sightings, preferably with photos, should be sent to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk
Aethina tumida, the Small Hive Beetle (SHB)
This little creature - a third of the size of a honey bee - has been discovered in Italy. It is endemic in other continents where it devastates colonies of honey bees. Once it has arrived, it will be virtually impossible to control unless action is taken immediately. For up-to-date information, please visit the National Bee Unit web pages about Small Hive Beetle where you will find instructions on how to report your finding.
DO NOT IGNORE THIS INSECT - This is a notifiable pest and you must contact your bee inspector immediately you suspect having found one.
European Foul Brood
European Foul Brood occurs in the UK and is notifiable under the Bee Diseases and Pests Control Order 2006. Therefore, if you suspect that your bees have this disease, you must contact your local Inspector (see below). Dead larvae will be unsealed and will lie in a contorted position, where they will gradually discolour.
American Foul Brood
American Foul Brood is less common in the UK but does occur and we must be vigilant. Like EFB, it is notifiable and you must contact your local Inspector (see below). Wax cappings become sunken and perforated when adult bees nibble holes in them to try to remove the infected larvae underneath. These perforations tend to be jagged and irregular in shape. Some cappings may become moist or greasy-looking and slightly darker in colour than other cells.
Varroa destructor mites
Varroa are endemic and cannot be totally eliminated. However it is important to check the mite drop regularly and at key times, and to take action when the varroa population is too big for the health of your bees .
An adult female mite measures 1.6 x 1.1mm. She will enter an open brood cell, shortly before it is due to be capped and will hide under the larva. Once the cell is sealed, she begins a reproduction cycle. Her first egg will hatch into a male mite then she will more lay eggs, roughly every 36 hours, that will become females. The new mites and their mother attach to and feed from the developing bee pupa, all the while transferring viruses that will shorten the bee's life span. The young female mites mate with their brother. When the host pupa emerges as a honey bee, the mother mite and the daughters that have reached maturity and mated emerge and the cycle begins again.
Please refer to APHA advice on managing Varroa.
National Bee Unit - BeeBase
If you are a beekeeper with bees in England, Scotland and Wales you are strongly recommended to sign up to BeeBase.
Operated and managed by the National Bee Unit, it is confidential and secure, and gives you up-to-date information about bee diseases and pests. If disease is detected in your area, you will be notified very quickly and a fully qualified Bee-inspector will visit your apiary with you to perform a check for signs of disease or pests - free of charge - giving you peace of mind.
If you have not yet registered, please visit the Beesbase registration website
National Bee Unit - Brochures
Advisory leaflets, training manuals & fact sheets are available from the NBU for Varroa, Foulbrood and SHB - please visit the National Bee Unit website. In particular, please familiarise yourself with the common brood diseases shown in the back of the foulbrood brochure.
National Bee Unit - Southern Region - Bee Inspectors
Each Regional Bee Inspector (RBI) manages a team of Seasonal Bee Inspectors (SBIs) working from April to September.
Every Bee Inspector is an experienced practical beekeeper, specialising in recognition and control of bee pests and diseases. You must contact your Seasonal Bee Inspector without delay if any of the notifiable diseases (European Foul Brood, American Foul Brood) or pests (Small Hive Beetle, Tropilaelaps) are suspected.

The Regional Bee Inspector for Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire is Dan Etheridge.
Current contact details can be found on the BeeBase contacts page where you will find a postcode search that will tell you who your nearest Bee Inspector is during the active season.
Contact details for each active season (spring to late summer) will be issued in spring on that year.