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Are Bees Protected Under UK law?​
Honeybee on Flower

A question we a very often asked is are Bees protected under UK law?

There is a very common misconception that they are however none of  the 25 bee species in the UK are protected! 

Its is perfectly legal to exterminate bees however the method of doing so (the application of pesticides) is legislated and as such treatment should ALWAYS be a last resort. 

Is it ethical to exterminate bees?

Not only are Bees endangered  Honey bees are also  the worlds most important pollinators for food crops. It's estimated that 1/3 of the food we consume daily relies upon pollination by bees.They live either in the wild in nests as feral colonies, or more normally, as colonies in hives managed by beekeepers. In either case, they will only sting people if strongly provoked.

Should I treat a nest?

Given the importance of bees it should always be a last report. Additionally bees will only sting if they perceive danger and don’t cause problems to property.  They will naturally decline autumn returning to nests in the spring. 

Things to consider:

  • Is there a risk to Public health? Has anyone been stung or is anyone at risk due to the location?

  • How long has the nest been there? Swarms often move on within 48 hrs if left undisturbed and allowed to do so 

  • Can the nest be moved? If the swarm is in a sensitive / accessible area can it be moved? A local beekeeper can often provide assistance with this 

What are the Risks of  Treating Nests?

Treatment should be carried out using an  approved pesticide, in accordance with the statutory guidance by a trained professional. Treatment is not as straight forward as you would think with lots of things to consider. This poisoning of the initial colony may end up with multiple colonies with in the local area being killed off as a result of the poisoned honey being robbed and taken back to local hives or honey destined for for use being contaminated. This would be cause for an investigation and the possible prosecution and fine for the misuse of an approved insecticide.

Need further advise? The team would be happy to discuss cal us 08000287111

 

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