How to manage an EFB inspection

I have received notification from the NBU that EFB has been discovered within 3 km of my apiary (in central London). I have two hives a metre apart with vegetative barriers between them to hinder drifting. I took honey off the smaller Warre (3 boxes) which was in the (long) process of converting from a National brood box in June. The other Warre is now on 6 boxes and has not been opened since the spring. As EFB is stress induced, I am hoping my hives are not infected.

I am anxious about what interventions the Inspector is going to demand. I fear there is little sympathy for the Warre system in London in general and by inspectors. Does anyone have any tips?


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2 Responses to How to manage an EFB inspection

  1. Lynne says:

    Hi Mary

    We are fortunate here in Oxfordshire that our inspector Phil, knows how to open and inspect Warre hives – he is patient and as gentle as possible. There are others sympathetic to variant hives too, but I know it can vary ..but inspectors do care about bees.

    A few things it may help you to know:
    – all inspectors have been issued with a tool suitable for our hives …it is this one
    – they want to know that, whatever your beekeeping approach, you are engaged with aware of your colony’s health. The fact that you have not conducted an internal inspection since spring should not be of concern if you can demonstrate that you frequently observe and monitor them in other ways ….entrance behaviour, etc. …also that you keep records (by whatever means)
    – and most importantly, while the inspectors have the right to examine your brood comb, if you want to you have the right to be the one to actually extract the comb and hand it to them (and replace it).

    Hope this helpos, Lynne

  2. Paul says:

    Hi Mary,

    Lynne covers some important points. I’d just add:

    – Start positive – make the inspector welcome and show them respect. They’ve opened thousands of hives and are very experienced beeks, you can learn a lot from them. You are about to get a visit directly to your apiary by a real expert, at no expense to you, it’s an opportunity to seize. Make a list of any questions you have for them, if you’re lucky they will explain. You can also learn just by watching their handling technique closely – but you could choose to do the handling yourself if they are not so familiar with this hive type.

    – Bee Inspectors are pretty busy people who generally have to check several apiaries a day. Their main problem, I imagine, is arriving at an apiary and finding the combs cannot be removed. Can you loosen a few brood combs before their visit?

    – If you’re planning to harvest from the hives, maybe do it before the inspector arrives as a 6-boxer could be a challenge on the day. (I’m outside London so a couple of degrees cooler than you, I might harvest late September, I’m not sure if it is the right time for you yet).


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