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Phone Line Issues
Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:30:48 GMT
*** RESOLVED *** 16:30 20/02/2018: Please be aware, we are currently experiencing problems with our main office line - 0300 3030094 - until the issue is fixed please use 01904 405129.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Regional Bee Inspector (RBI) Vacancies
Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:30:48 GMT
The National Bee Unit has several Regional Bee Inspector Posts advertised on the Civil Service Jobs website. The areas we are recruiting in are:

Northern England, geographical area covering: Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Wirral and Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland;

North East of England, geographical area covering: Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and;

Southern England, geographical area covering: Isle of Wight, Dorset, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Northamptonshire

Applications have to be made online via the Civil Service Jobs website and the Closing date for applications is the 25thJanuary. Any applications submitted after this date will not be considered. If you have any questions about any of the posts then please contact the current Regional Bee Inspector, or in the event that the RBI is not available, contact the National Bee Inspector, Julian Parker. All contact details can be found on the contact pages of BeeBase.

An Update on the Asian Hornet Outbreak in Woolacombe and Information about the Tetbury Nest Analysis
Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:30:48 GMT
Please note that in order to see some of the content, you may need to temporarily turn off your pop-up blocker.

Please click the following blue link to view an image of an Asian hornet sighting in Woolacombe hawking in front of beehives . Image courtesy of Martyn Hocking.

Following suspect sightings, on Sunday 24th September the NBU received two photographs from a beekeeper in Woolacombe, North Devon, of an Asian hornet. The following day, the 25th September, preliminary surveillance began in the apiary and the NBU's Contingency Plan was activated. The local Bee Inspector monitored the apiary and initially found surveillance difficult due to the position of the colonies in the apiary. However, that morning, the Inspector managed to capture a hornet and sent the sample to the NBU in Sand Hutton for formal identification. Later that afternoon, the Inspector returned to the apiary site and a further 7 hornets were seen hawking in front of hives, but no line of sight could be ascertained, to establish a flight path back to the nest.

On the 26th September, South West Region inspectors were deployed to intensify searches for Asian hornets hawking in the area. Wet, misty and murky morning weather conditions were not ideal, but the Inspectors continued to survey the original outbreak apiary and two lines of sight were established. Inspectors were able to identify a second apiary site about 1km from the original outbreak, where one hornet was seen hawking for returning foraging bees. A hornet sample was taken, in order to establish if the hornets visiting the second apiary site were from the same nest and thus determine if there were multiple nests in the area.

Hornets were also observed in an apiary at a further site and were seen flying in a similar line of sight. The lines of sight from both the outbreak apiary and the second apiary combined were enough for an initial triangulation to be taken and investigated. The Inspectors began investigating public footpaths and the area around where the lines of sight met at the triangulation. A great deal of Asian hornet activity was observed at a nearby building site and on 27th September an Asian hornet nest was discovered.

The nest was destroyed the following evening, removed and taken to the Fera lab (Sand Hutton, York) on Friday 29th Sept. Further surveillance was carried out within a 10 km zone of the nest site and no further Asian hornet activity was detected. Following analysis of the nest has shown that none of the adult hornets were male and this indicates that the nest was detected and removed before the production of queens which will have gone into winter and then produced nests in 2018.

Additionally, if you are interested in finding out more details of the Tetbury outbreak in 2016, including genetic analysis of the hornets origin, this can be found in the PLoS One publication: Budge GE, Hodgetts J, Jones EP, Ostoja Starzewski JC, Hall J, Tomkies V, et al. (2017) The invasion, provenance and diversity of Vespa velutina Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in Great Britain. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0185172. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185172.

A separate document is available to view the Welsh Version of Asian Hornet Update in Woolacombe
Complete the Hive Count
Tue, 31 Oct 2017 16:30:48 GMT
Dear Beekeepers,

It's time to update your BeeBase records with the total number of overwintering hives as of 1st November 2017. To do this click on the link below.


More details of this initiative, its importance and why we need your help can be found on the Hive Count page.

We thank you for your co-operation.

The National Bee Unit
Asian hornet nest in Woolacombe destroyed
Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:30:48 GMT
A recent outbreak of Asian hornets has been successfully contained by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Inspectorate who promptly tracked down and destroyed the nest in Devon.

The hornets were first discovered in the Woolacombe area in September and work to track down and destroy the nest included a two mile surveillance zone in Devon, with National Bee Unit Bee Inspectors using line of sight to triangulate the location of the nest. The contingency plan was set in motion, which included opening a disease control center to coordinate the response between the various teams involved.

Since the destruction and removal of the nest, no further Asian hornets have been seen in the area, but it is possible Asian hornets could reappear in the UK and beekeepers, along with members of the public are urged to report any suspected sightings through the routes outlined in the Defra press release.

For more details about the Asian hornet, please visit the detailed pages on BeeBase.

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© 2018 Phil Chandler    Friends of the Bees
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