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Bees and the Law

Bees and the Law


There is presently a discussion about IF bees should be imported into the UK, and what the current requirements are for doing this. The question is also do the current regulations and safeguards protect UK Beekeepers?

Here is a collection of information that may help answer questions you may have about Bees and the Law – WebBee

The “Bees Act”

“The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006”

This sets out the basic powers of the “Bee inspector” and how control of Bees, pests and disease is managed within the UK, it does not really deal with the importation of Bees. HERE

Importation into the European Union

The European regulations for the importation of animals INTO the European union from outside the E.U, it deals with the carriage of Bees and guidance. It does NOT deal with any form of regulation of bee breeders or importations of bees. Full article for the sleepless the full document is HERE

“Article 7

General conditions for the introduction into the Union of certain species of bees 1.

Consignments of bees of the species listed in table 1 of Part 2 of Annex IV shall only be introduced into the Union from third countries or territories: (a) listed in Part 1 of Annex II; (b) where the presence of the American foulbrood, the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) and the Tropilaelaps mite (Tropilaelaps spp.) is subject to compulsory notification throughout the whole territory of the third country or territory concerned.

▼C1 2010R0206 — EN — 28.05.2013 — 011.001 — 9 2.

By way of derogation from paragraph 1(a), consignments of bees may be introduced into the Union from a part of a third country or territory listed in Part 1 of Annex II which is: (a) a geographically and epidemiologically isolated part of the third country or territory (b) listed in the third column of the table in Section 1 of Part 1 of Annex IV.

When that derogation is applied, the introduction into the Union of consignments of bees shall be prohibited from all other parts of the third country or territory concerned not listed in the third column of the table in Section 1 of Part 1 of Annex IV. 3.

Consignments of bees of the species listed in table 1 of Part 2 of Annex IV shall consist of either: (a) cages of queen bees (Apis mellifera and Bombus spp.), each containing one single queen bee with a maximum of 20 accompanying attendants; or (b) containers of bumble bees (Bombus spp.), each containing a colony of a maximum of 200 adult bumble bees. 4.

Consignments of bees of the species listed in table 1 of Part 2 of Annex IV shall: (a) be accompanied by the appropriate veterinary certificate, drawn up in accordance with the relevant model veterinary certificate set out in Part 2 of Annex IV, and completed and signed by an official inspector of the exporting third country; (b) comply with the veterinary requirements set out in the veterinary certificate referred to in point (a).”

The Veterinary certificate that needs to be filled in is starts on page 138 of the full document HERE

This refers to ONLY bees imported from NON E.U states, so imports within the E.U (Italy) appear to only request the importer complies with all local GUIDANCE; which of course is not legally enforceable. It the imports are from an exclusion zone that has Small Hive beetle a certificate may not be granted; but if the bees come from outside the exclusion zone (are moved before hand) then a certificate is granted.

There is nothing in the guidance about the vet checking where the bees came from originally in any documentation, it seems to deal only with the importation into the E.U. – WebBee

Guidance for the Importation of Bees into the UK

There is specific GUIDANCE from DEFRA concerning the importation of Bees, but no regulations that can be enforced for the importation of bees into the UK, other than “The Bees act” and the overriding European legislation Full details of the DEFRA guidance is HERE

UK Law on importation of Bees

There is UK law that is enforceable about the importation of bees the  “The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011” this has clauses relating to bee health but it does not directly deal with registration, control of bee importers or quarantine. HERE

The Full legislation is here HERE

Control of Invasive species within the European Union

REGULATION (EU) No 1143/2014 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species

The above document concerns itself with how the E.U deals with non-native invasive species and mentions “co-operation” many times and puts the onus on the individual member state to manage the issues.

List of Non-Native Invasive species

Here is a list of non-native invasive species according to the European Union, this list does not presently include the Asian Hornet or the Small Hive Beetle on some websites! HERE …

However the “Brochure on the 49 species of union concern” mentions the Asian Hornet but NOT the Small Hive Beetle …. at least its signed by the E.U president though.. – WebBee…

Full E.U Document for those who enjoy this sort of thing HERE

The Balai Directive

No its not a spy novel title, its the European directive that limits the premises and scope of who can import animals into the European Union and the UK. HERE

Bee Breeders and importers are not presently required to register anywhere (as far as I can find – WebBee)

If Bee importers were required to be registered it is possible that they would be registered here, this gives a Legal requirement to the importer and provides the UK government the ability to take enforcement action and remove or suspend any permits should the need arise. – WebBee

If any Bee Importers were required to register they would possibly be required to register as per the requirements of  Directive 92/65/EEC by submitting an application to be registered to import Bees into the UK HERE

It must be stated that presently as far as I can find:-

You do not need to be registered to import bees from anywhere in the world into the UK.

Any “would-be” Bee importer does is not required to have any regulated premises, or apply any quarantine to any bee imports under any circumstances (?).

There is no legal ban on the import of Asian Hornets or Small Hive Beetle so any willful importation has no penalty, and incredibly these species although undesirable are not legally regulated; so there is no requirement to prevent their importation; there is only GUIDANCE but that is not legally enforceable.

Although a veterinary certificate is requested in the guidance for imports of bees from OUTSIDE the E.U and a request that a certificate is issued within the E.U; the bees do not have to go through a border inspection post (BIP) to ensure compliance.

There is no register or check on any bees entering the U.K to check the importation was successful with a follow-up check by a Bee Inspector.

As far as can be determined regional bee inspectors are unaware of any bees being imported into their area of responsibility.

The BBKA View