Beekeepers Information


The impact of the Coronavirus could not have been foreseen but the BBKA is working hard to support members.  We regret that all the BBKA training courses at Stoneleigh have been cancelled, this includes the Healthy Hive training, General Husbandry and Advanced husbandry training. The Exam Board have cancelled the Module Exams, the Assessor Training and will be publishing information on the Healthy Hive and Basic Exams.

We are suggesting that Beginners courses and other Branch or Association organised training courses are postponed. It is important to keep the health of members at the front of our minds. It may be possible to deliver some aspects of these courses online.  I would welcome suggestions as to the best way this could be achieved ; possibly some Associations have information that they would be prepared to share. We can post some ideas on our website so please share any that you think may help.

I am sure younger members of groups will support older members or those confined through association with family etc who have the virus by offering to check hives in out apiaries, making sure they are upright, have food and the bees are flying could be very helpful. Please follow the Government guidelines, we are asked to avoid social contact and unnecessary travel. This will mean considering carefully the swarm collection service and applying appropriate safeguards.

I have contacted Defra for advice on the position of beekeepers visiting their bees if the country moves into a more intensive ‘lock down’. At the moment bees will be considered as livestock and can be tended accordingly but we are following Government advice and need to address possible future directions. I have also been in contact with Alpha and the All Party Parliamentary Group and I  am writing to the Minister of Environment  asking about the position of beekeepers visiting bees I have also suggested that should there be a sugar shortage beekeepers have an allowance ( as I believe they had in the war). This may seem extreme but we need to be thinking now, just in case.

There are actions that the beekeeper can take to give their bees the best chance of survival and the most important is to feed them. Ensure they have plenty of food for any inclement weather, we can have snow in May and cold wet weather at any time may mean they starve. If you are concerned about visiting your bees put fondant above your supers, the bees will use it if they need it. If you do not have fondant then use syrup even if you have one or two supers on. They may move it to the supers which would mean you can’t sell it as honey but you will still have your bees and also food for the Autumn/Winter. We do not know how long this severe situation will last.

We will endeavour to give more information through our website and BBKA social media. Beebase will also be posting information.

I hope this situation passes quickly and is not as severe as is now being portrayed.

Anne Rowberry

Orders  from EH Thorne (Beehives) Ltd.

Bernard Diaper has an arrangement with EH Thorne (Beehives) Limited, a supplier of bee equipment which are we all familiar with, to be able to purchase equipment for members at a discounted price.

Please check all your equipment and consider what you may require later on this year   as Bernard will be placing an order during the summer.   Please contact Bernard to confirm your requirements  as Bernard is now taking orders for any items in the Thorne’s catalogue.

Please contact him for more information 07711 456932 or email him at

We should all thank Bernard for the time and effort for organising  this for us.


As a general guide, bees love daisy and bell shaped flowers. Always choose single flower varieties as double flowers do not provide nectar for insects.   The flowers on may fruit and vegetable crops are firm favourites of bees – beans, peas and fragrant herbs are loved as are apples, currants and raspberries.   If you have space in or around your vegetable plot, try to include flowers from the list below.

Companion planting, a traditional method of growing different plants together for mutual benefits like extra nutrients, protection from harsh weather and pest control, can make your plot particularly good for bees. That in turn will benefit your produce.   For example, nasturtiums grown among your brassicas will protect them from caterpillars – caterpillars will choose to eat nasturtium leaves rather than your cabbages, while their flowers will attract the bees.   Chives or sage amongst your carrots will ward of aphids and root fly and again their flowers will be great for bees, which in turn are then on hand to pollinate your other crops.   Although there are lots more, here is a list of just some of the bee-friendly plants you could choose from

(*denotes British native plants)

  • Alyssum
  • Annual scabious
  • Azalea
  • Bluebell (English)*
  • Borage
  • Candytuft
  • Catmint
  • Chives
  • Clover
  • Comfrey*
  • Common poppy*
  • Corn chamomile*
  • Corn marigold
  • Cornflower*
  • Dahlias
  • Deadnettle*
  • Devil’s bit scabious*
  • Field woundwort*
  • Forget-me-not
  • Foxglove*
  • French marigold
  • Goldenrod*
  • Greater knapweed*
  • Larkspur
  • Lavender
  • Lesser snapdragon*
  • Lungwort
  • Lupin
  • Meadow clary*
  • Mexican hat
  • Mint
  • Nasturtium
  • Primrose*
  • Rosemary
  • Round-leave fluellen*
  • Sage
  • Sea holly
  • Sedum
  • Spiked speedwell*
  • Sunflower
  • Sweet William
  • Teasel*
  • Thistle*
  • Thyme
  • Tobacco plant
  • Viper’s bugloss*
  • Whorled clary*
  • Wild clary

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