Importation of bees form Norther Ireland: update

Dear Members

There have been a lot of questions about the importation of bees from Northern Ireland being proposed by Patrick Murfet and the detrimental comments he has made concerning the BBKA on the British and Irish group Facebook.

I think it may be helpful to outline the main points of the actions I have taken on behalf of the BBKA:

Martin Smith (Director of BDI) and I composed a letter, concerning the circumvention of the law to import Italian bees into the UK. This was presented to the Bee Health Advisory Forum. Unfortunately, the Bee Farmers and National Farmers Union did not agree to the proposed action and Defra decided not to express an opinion, but everyone else supported the move.

The letter objecting to the circumvention of the law on importing bees was sent to Government Ministers in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, outlining the potential danger of introducing the Small Hive beetle into the UK. The bees are being sourced from Southern Italy, an area where there is Small Hive beetle.

I applied for a Parliamentary Petition which took several weeks to be processed, but It is now live and has already 7,070 signatures. The focus of the petition is to stop the circumvention of the Law to bring bees into the UK via Northern Ireland

I informed all Associations of our action and put a copy of the letter sent to Governments in the April Edition of the BBKA news

Patrick Murfet has made numerous derogatory statements concerning the BBKA. His information is incorrect, his facts have no basis with the truth and it is upsetting to see someone who has a Bee Equipment business being willing to risk introducing disease and a potentially devastating pest into the UK in order to make profit.

I immediately spoke to the BBKA News Editor and asked for any adverts from Mr Murfet to be declined. It was unfortunate that the advert from Bee Equip had been accepted for the April Edition and the magazine was printed before it could be withdrawn. As you probably know there is a long lead time in the process of producing and printing magazines. 

It is worth noting that Irish bee keepers are extremely concerned and upset about the potential effects on their native bee populations, in addition to the biosecurity issues.

I have now written to Mr Murfet informing him that no advertising from him, his companies (Bee Equipment and Patrick’s Bees} or the magazine BQ will be accepted for publication in BBKA News.

 I hope you will agree we are acting positively.  

Finally, I want to thank you for all the messages of support I have received and for everyone who has signed the petition. Some Government departments are aware of the issues and questions are already being asked about the import situation. 

Anne Rowberry

BBKA Chair