Disease and Bio-security for Queen Rearing and movement of bees and colonies

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Introduction to bio-security and apiary hygiene

Bio-security is by far our greatest potential problem as a group. This is because we will be using bees from one or more colonies and moving them to other sites followed by further movement and creating drones which will mate with others' new queens.

Queen rearing is the most risky of all beekeeping activities in terms of spreading disease and exposing colonies to importation of disease from colonies and other third party apiaries.

Good apiary hygiene should be taken as read and all members should be familiar with and implement the guidance set out by the NBU in particular the following Fact Sheets are most relevant:-

Guidance note on Hive Cleaning and Sterilisation

Guidance note number and title:

also refer to BBKA guidance L012 Apiary Hygiene

Disease: Site Risk Assessments

Each site, whether the mating apiary, or especially those which are used for queen rearing should be assessed for identified risks associated with that site’s characteristics and monitored for diseases outbreaks within the locality

This requires all participating member’s sites to be registered on Bee Base as a matter of course, including all those of participating members of organisations involved with B4. (CBIBBG, BipCo, Paradise Park, Heligan, Paignton Zoo, Eden, Duchy Nurseries).

All beekeepers should be vigilant for disease, however, where beekeeping activities are exposed to potential exotic importations there should be greater caution with inspections and bee movements. Paignton Zoo and Paradise Park could be exposed to exotic fauna and flora that could be a source of exotic contamination, for instance, small Hive Beetle. Movements of bees out of these sites should be assessed for exotic contamination first and regular monitoring undertaken and recorded

Members involved in these sites should enquire over the source of fauna and flora and specialist feed or exchange breeding programmes in operation so as to be aware of the potential sources of contamination which may inadvertently bring exotic pests in. Members close to airports, ports or estuaries used for moorings or nurseries, garden centres should also be vigilant.

For the mating apiary only mini nucs to be used no standard frame nuclei other than the donor drone colonies.

Bio Security when creating mini-nucs

Grafting

Records for Batches of Queens

The following key information should be recorded:

Colony and Progeny characteristics

At the very least develop your own stock card systems or modify BIBBA's and consider Dave Cushman's comments

Sharing Mating Apiaries

When sharing Mating Apiaries ensure all aspects of your beekeeping follow best practice for bio-security as defined by the group and the NBU. Individual members have the final say over the use of their apiaries.

All mating nucs brought in need to have the following information on them
Beekeeper ref : initials
Source colony for bees and Apiary
Source colony for queen

Quarantine

Ideally no newly mated queens and their mini mating nucs/Apidea should be moved from the mating site until 1 brood cycle to allow for assessment of potential disease. Once inspected to be visibly clear of notifiable diseases this to be logged.

If any member suspects they have a notifiable disease outbreak, statutory notification of Bee Inspectorate is required. Members are also obliged to inform members of the group as well, so that extra vigilance can be applied to participating members and partners to avoid spreading diseases.

In line with best practice if a quarantine apiary is required it is the member’s responsibility to seek appropriate license for relocation of bee stocks and equipment.

Ideally the mating site Apiary manager to inspect all mini-nucs before being removed to give the all-clear on any diseases or the owner to certify the unit is clear.

Selling or Distributing Queens Nuclei

DO NOT SELL QUEENS NUCLEI IF THERE ARE ANY CONCERNS OVER NOTIFIABLE DISEASES IN ANY OF YOUR APIARIES UNTIL THE BEE INSPECTOR HAS GIVEN YOUR OVERALL OPERATION THE ALL-CLEAR
WHERE THERE ARE CONCERNS WITH DISEASE iN YOUR PATCH CONFIRM IF THE BEE INSPECTOR IS HAPPY FOR YOU TO SELL QUEENS AND NUCLEI etc.

Information to be recorded when selling bees and Queens.

When selling Nuclei record same information as for queen sales and adhere to the best practice note L014 produced by the BBKA Standard and Guidance Notes for Nuclei

Comeback Any member who knowingly exposes other members to risk from

This guidance to be reviewed by B4 Team and members of Cornwall Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders' Group and BIPCo as required. Comments welcome.

Prepared by R.D.Dewhurst.

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