what is a bee inspector?

various posts have mentioned the bee inspector.  who is this? and why would they want/need to look at my bees?  how does the bee inspector even know I have bees?

Ruth

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About walthambees

I am a complete novice to bee keeping - eager to learn, willing to try, happy to acknowledge that I know little and prepared to write about that in the hope that others will share their wisdom and experiences!
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One Response to what is a bee inspector?

  1. simplebees says:

    Ruth
    A bee inspector is a beekeeper appointed by DEFRA/the National Bee Unit who is responsible for applying the legislation that covers notifiable bee diseases. The only such diseases that we currently have in the UK are two brood diseases – so-called European and American foul brood. Of these two, the latter is considered by the inspectors to be the more noxious and, if found in hives, attracts severe control measures – ie the destruction by burning of the hives and bees. Thankfully AFB is relatively rare. The former, EFB, is more common and can generally be controlled by the creation of an artificial swarm (a ‘shook’ swarm) which at least saves the adult bees (the brood and combs being destroyed). EFB in particular seems to be localised in its occurrence. If you live in an area that has little or no EFB, you might never see it and, hence, never see an inspector. I have seen it more than once over the years, in different locations.

    There are three reasons that a bee inspector may come calling:

    1) the beekeeper reports suspected disease in their hives,

    2) disease is reported within 5 km of your hives

    3) the inspector is doing random checks in your area to determine whether it is a likely disease hot-spot.

    In the latter two cases, as you ask, how does anyone know about your bees? There are two mechanisms:

    1) you have registered your bees on beebase (this is not mandatory)

    2) the inspector asks around when inspecting other local hives.

    Interestingly, such work (not a lot, sadly) as has been done on disease in feral colonies suggests that they have a far lower incidence of brood disease than occurs in managed colonies. Which suggests that beekeepers themselves may be an important factor.

    Gareth, West Oxfordshire

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