The situation with the COVID19 pandemic is changing rapidly, although the advice now is that we are on lockdown and are to avoid all but essential travel and practise social distancing.
The National Bee Unit (NBU) has just published advice to beekeepers, which you may have seen. Bees are classed as livestock and so need to be looked after appropriately. This means that we are allowed to visit out-apiaries and manage our bees. However, extra care must be taken in doing so. The emergency services are already stretched and beekeeping accidents as well as road traffic accidents will not be helping them, so please be extra careful if visiting out-apiaries. In addition social distancing must be respected, and this means inspecting a colony on your own without anyone else being within 2 metres of you unless you are from the same household. The NBU stresses two people maximum in an apiary.
If you are unable to care for your bees then our usual contacts are available for advice, including District Advisers and Improver Group leaders. You may also need to contact beekeeping friends, particularly if you cannot visit your bees because you are unwell or are self-isolating. Equally, if you are able to help others, please let us know.
Swarm collection can carry on as before, but please follow government guidelines on travel and social distancing. There might be dangers of unforeseen contact with other people, for example in a public space, or if it is not clear where the swarm is or the only access is through someone’s house. Do feel that you have the right to refuse to deal with a swarm at any stage if there are risks in the situation.
As you will have seen Beds BKA has already cancelled all meetings including Beginners Courses, Apiary training and trustee meetings until further notice.