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COVID-19 Downunder

with the virus and all the restrictions, are you able to go do your hive inspections?

Asking for those areas that are really locked down like Melbourne?? and Italy?

Maybe there would be allowances for beekeepers to do hive inspection seeing as bees are a primary industry.


I would think that beekeeping would be considered an essential activity and exempt from lockdown. My reasoning if challenged would be:

  1. Bees are livestock. We have an obligation to take care of managed livestock.
  2. Uninspected bees with bad infections can spread those infections to other hives, wiping out other people’s livestock
  3. We need bees for modern food production. If we abandon them, our food supply may drastically fall. That is exactly what we don’t need in a world pandemic, so what we do is essential for society.

I am sure I could come with more, but that is a start. :blush:


Each state in Australia has been divided into regions that you need a valid reason to go from one to another. I think that as a bee keeper checking on his/her livestock would be accepted.
Both Melbourne and Sydney are corona virus ‘hot spots’ being our most densely populated cities so possibly restrictions of movements is more enforced but where I am common sense seems to prevail.


The BBKA released information to UK members last week to confirm for now hive inspections outwith your own properties is still allowed as classed as livestock. As long as government guidelines regarding social distancing were adhered to.

This is subject to change based on future isolation restrictions that may come into force.

Were coming into early spring in the UK and swarm season.

I’ll post any updates from the BBKA as and when I’m aware of any change.

The whole agricultural industry will be in tender hooks as early fresh produce will be due fir mass picking soon as well as further planting.

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From the BBKA Chair:

I have contacted Defra for advice on the position of beekeepers visiting their bees if the country moves into a more intensive ‘lock down’. At the moment bees will be considered as livestock and can be tended accordingly but we are following Government advice and need to address possible future directions. I have also been in contact with Alpha and the All Party Parliamentary Group and I am writing to the Minister of Environment asking about the position of beekeepers visiting bees I have also suggested that should there be a sugar shortage beekeepers have an allowance ( as I believe they had in the war). This may seem extreme but we need to be thinking now, just in case.

There are actions that the beekeeper can take to give their bees the best chance of survival and the most important is to feed them. Ensure they have plenty of food for any inclement weather, we can have snow in May and cold wet weather at any time may mean they starve. If you are concerned about visiting your bees put fondant above your supers, the bees will use it if they need it. If you do not have fondant then use syrup even if you have one or two supers on. They may move it to the supers which would mean you can’t sell it as honey but you will still have your bees and also food for the Autumn/Winter. We do not know how long this severe situation will last.

We will endeavour to give more information through our website and BBKA social media. Beebase will also be posting information.

I hope this situation passes quickly and is not as severe as is now being portrayed.

Anne Rowberry

BBKA Chair

From the BBKA webdite:

Swarm Collection during Covid-19

24 March 2020

BBKA Chair Anne Rowberry says: "The swarm collection service will still be in operation during the pandemic.

Swarm collection can go ahead but you must take into account social distancing.

Risk assess the situation and do not take unnecessary risks as health services will be under pressure due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As always, only collect when it is safe to do so. We are working with DEFRA."

You can find info on swarms and our map of collectors here: www.bbka.org.uk/swarm


I have a feeling beekeepers will be able to make a strong case to continue to move around and manage bees- for the good of the bees and us all. It is now an essential service- and if Government can get its act together fast enough will be recognised as such. there may be a short period before that is acknowledged. Here in South Australia food services and primary production are already being prioritized. I am so happy to be a beekeepr just now- my everyday job may well vanish over the coming weeks but I think I may be able to make myself useful to everyone as a beekeeper- possibly even full time. I can work my bees in utter isolation from Humans. I can expand with splits in Spring.

Perhaps in a few months I will drive through a checkpoint and the guards will salute me “There goes the beekeeper!”


Well done Jack, I salute you already. I’ve been saying for a long time that we deserve rock star status.


Our time has come jeff- and I for one am glad of the knowledge I have gleaned from your years of experience- knowledge you have been so generous with on this forum.

Also just this year I have been super lucky to meet one of Australia’s greatest urban beekeepers and gained so much new experience and knowledge. These are strange days- and I for one am so glad I have something to contribute to our community via beekeeping. I just got a call out yesterday from some people who are demolishing a house and accidentally wrecked a hive in a wall- they seem to have balked at my quote for saving the bees- normally that would be it- but now I will go and do it for free if I can- for the bees. If the queen is kaput and the combs wrecked I will merge the remaining bees with another hive that is a bit weak and can take the willing workers.


US agricultural activities are considered essential, even things like buying baby chicks! I had an order in for the week of March 23 that was cancelled by the garden center where delivery & pickup were being coordinated, so I placed a direct order that should come next week :heart_eyes: