I need a rant!

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Queen Bee
Mar 4, 2011
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I mentor several beekeepers locally. Today one of them had the bee inspector turn up. He arrived four hours late when all the children were coming home from school. A storm was brewing and indeed, just after he left there was thunder and lightening and heavy rain. This relatively new beek has only been keeping bees for three years but suggested that maybe this wasn't the right time to be looking through her bees, however he just continued without them. As a result her bees went mad and he said that they were angry bees, worse than any others he has inspected that day! The hives are in an orchard with a nearby country lane. There has never been a problem with people being stung but one of the children on the way home from school got stung six times and phone calls round the village are now rife. There are calls for this beek to move their bees. There has never been a problem before and the beek is understandably upset and angry that her bees were treated in this manner and this has resulted in a local child being harmed.
This does our cause as beekeepers no good at all.
I know bee inspectors have powers but surely they have responsibilities too.
I have no idea who controls them, is it defra!
I am upset on their behalf and if he comes to visit me ....... Look out!
I nearly done an inspection on mine this afternoon but common sense prevailed. Inspections are only by appointment and if he failed to attend on time then he should have had the decency to rearrange his appointment.
You can tell them to come back another time. Its only if they suspect disease that they can insist to see the bees.
This is why I'm now seriously considering moving all my Apiries onto private land out of public way even in my garden which is large and you would not know there is a single colony comes into contact with delivery couriers when they look for a place to drop and hide deliveries and I have to leave notes on delivery Caution Bees at work. And the other Apiary people want to look at the hives eg bees coming and going and are being chased off! Me thinks its time to move them and hide them.....

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He said there had been disease in the area over the past two years..... Does that mean he can suspect it in your colonies?
I'm still fuming! We try so hard to be responsible in our local area and then this happens!
You must send a letter of complaint to his employer. Ranting is understandable but take action and complain, that way something may be done to prevent a similar occurrence again.
Doesnt give them the right to go against your wishes, after all you were not refusing them to see the bees but just at a more convenient time where passers by would not be hurt. You always have the option of putting in a formal complaint, as long as you pointed out the problems the inspection was going to cause at the time they did it.
What! A letter to owen paterson! That won't do any good. He would probably want to cull them, for all he knows about bees. Or spray them with neonicitinoids!

Actually, yes, a letter of complaint should be sent. They will monitor the area for a couple or more years after a brood disease outbreak, but that is standard practice. But the timing and imposition was absurd.

Everyone take note that if timing is important, then that needs to be made abundantly clear when they make the appointment, and 'no-go' times should be strictly adhered to. One can easily imagine the inspector might be in a rush if running four hours late.

I have allowed them to get the job done in the rain before now so he did not need to make another visit. Only to find another beek close by refused, so he had to return another day It was only showery, anyway.
Sounds like a very poor if not reckless decision by someone who should have known better. Once again its the innocents that have to pick up the pieces and deal with the fall out.
If there is one thing I have learnt in my 46 years alive ... never place your trust or confidence in anyone in a position of responsibility. Police Officers, healthcare workers, Local Government officials ... and Government Bee Inspectors.

Some Bee Inspectors can be very coy when you ask them things like: 'How long have you been keeping bees for?' and 'How many colonies were you running'.
Seasonal bee inspectors work to the regional bee inspector & I've heard of dispute about inappropriate behaviour before. Yes it is FERA at this address...

The Food and Environment Research Agency
Sand Hutton
YO41 1LZ
Email but say 'hard copy sent by mail' and send a printed copy too.
You can tell them to come back another time. Its only if they suspect disease that they can insist to see the bees.

Actually it only goes to prove that bees might cause a problem when annoyed by somebody...

Do you have a local newsletter?
In Northern Ireland our Bee Inspectors have guidelines about the conditions under which they will undertake inspections (probably in relation to routine checks rather than where there is a suspected notifiable disease). From memory, they will not normally inspect where the temperature in under 14 Celsius (which is most of the time in NI!!). They are also reluctant to inspect colonies when it is or has been raining. In the past, I have given my local bee inspector permission to inspect stocks in my absence, only to get a phone call from him to say that its raining and he will call at the apiary (ies) another day.

Would it be useful to request a written copy of their guidelines about when they will or will not inspect?
trouble is there's bee inspectors and bee inspectors. I heard a few beeks (no names, no pack drill :D) discuss their local SBI's - Midlands/border counties. and their nicknames were laurel and Hardy. Apparently if you wanted to get rid of a problem quue, the best method was to get one of them to inspect, usual result Q- colony in short order!!

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