Your Local Bee Keepers Association

No matter where you are in the UK there will be a local beekeepers association who can offer you advice training and support in your first years and beyond as a beekeeper.   All associations have a newsletter, winter meetings and summer seasonal beekeeping events, keeping you in touch with what happing in your area.  Some have their own training apiary and can also supply you with equipment  and bees.  They will usually be affiliated to the BBKA, SKBA, WBKA or UBKA (see below) and offer BDI insurance or similar.  All in all joining your local beekeeping association is to be highly recommended.

To find your local association look at the relevant web sites below which carry up to date contact information on every affiliated local association.


BBKA: British Bee Keepers Association  

British Beekeepers Association
National Beekeeping Centre
National Agricultural Centre
Stoneleigh Park

 CV8 2LG


Tel:              02476 696679

The BBKA is the UK ís national association but in practice it is England's beekeeping association with the Scottish BKA being an independent organisation.   Most English beekeepers are members of the BBKA by being members of their local 'BBKA affiliated' association.  Individual membership is possible but it is primarily an association of associations.  

As a member you benefit from third party & product liability insurance.  The BBKA also run and manage a formal training scheme which is modular in nature and can lead to BBKA qualifications from Basic, Intermediate through to Master beekeeper.  There is also a range of useful advisory leaflets available many can be obtained via your local association.

The BBKA exists to:


Promote the Craft of beekeeping.


Train and inform UK beekeepers.


Improve the qualities of native honey bees. Supporting research into bee health management.


Liaise with relevant government departments.


Correspond with beekeepers around the world.


Set high standards for the quality of honey. 


Unite beekeeping organisations throughout the UK


Develop and promote honey bee management systems

SBKA: Scottish Bee Keepers Association  

The Scottish BKA does not have a permanent office address, all the current contact details can be obtained from the SBKA web site.   




Unlike the BBKA the SBKA have a dedicated monthly magazine 'The Scottish Beekeeper' as part of their membership.    


The SBKA exists to:


To promote beekeeping and encourage all interested in the art and science of beekeeping, stressing the benefits that beekeeping confers on agriculture and horticulture.


To provide helpful educational facilities through:

The publication of a monthly magazine


The maintenance of the Moir Library


The publication of informative leaflets


The promotion of community lectures


To conduct examinations in the science of apiculture and the art of beekeeping and in furtherance thereof but not otherwise


To provide Public Liability and Products Liability Insurance cover


To operate a Compensation Scheme


To provide advice on the detection and treatment of bee diseases.


UBKA: Ulster Bee Keepers Association

The Ulster BKA does not have a permanent office address, all the current contact details can be obtained from their web site.  

Email: See web site for current email addresses


The Ulster Beekeepers' Association is the body to which local beekeeping associations in Northern Ireland are affiliated. Its executive comprises its office bearers who are elected annually at congress and its delegates who are elected by its affiliated associations.
UBKA seeks to promote Apiculture and to represent the interests of beekeepers in Northern Ireland whilst restricting its activities to those which would be difficult for the local associations to perform such as:

bulletRepresentation to Government regarding registration, support for beekeeping, environmental issues etc.
bulletRepresentation to and through CONBA concerning wider European and World issues.
bulletLiaison with the Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations,(FIBKA) National Honey Show etc.
bulletFormation and support of local beekeeping associations.
bulletTeaching and examining in the science and practice of beekeeping in liaison with FIBKA and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD).
bulletRepresentation to grant aiding bodies.
bulletOrganisation of province-wide events e.g. the UBKA Annual Conference.
bulletPublic relations.
bulletProvide through its members a source of expert opinion on all aspects of beekeeping so that an informed opinion can be expressed in response to enquiries about beekeeping from any source.


WBKA: Welsh Bee Keepers Association


Welsh beekeeping associations are affiliated to the WBKA.


CABK: The Central Association of Bee Keepers

The Central Association of Bee-Keepers Lecture programme

Mrs M. R. English

6, Oxford Road



TW11 0PZ




Tel:              020 8977 5867

The CABK is a registered educational charity whose objectives are to promote and further the craft of beekeeping. By organising lectures and producing publications, the association enables beekeepers, bee scientists and others interested in bees to keep in touch with the latest research and ideas about bees and related topics. Acting as a bridge between the beekeeper and the scientist, it invites as its speakers those who are acknowledged experts in their fields, both nationally and internationally, and there are more than ten lectures given each year. A spring meeting is held in London , an annual autumn conference in Royal Leamington Spa , and a social evening is held in the Wax Chandlers' Hall in the City of London during November.


NBU: National Bee Unit

CSL Logo

National Bee Unit

Central Science Laboratory

Sand Hutton


YO41 1LZ  



Tel:                       01904 462510

The government funded NBU is based at the CSL: Central Science Laboratory in Yorkshire , it is part of DEFRA: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.  They coordinate the RBIís: Regional Bee Inspectors and the local SBIís: Seasonal Bee Inspectors.   The NBU provide a testing service for all types of bee diseases and a sample submission form can be downloaded from their web site.  The testing is chargeable unless submitted by a RBI or SBI.  The NBU describe themselves as follows:

ďOur function is to protect the honeybee, an essential pollinator of crops and wild plants, from threats such as serious disease and environmental damage. We do this using an integrated programme of apiary inspections, diagnosis, research, training and advice provided by a team of bee scientists and experienced practical beekeepers. We provide specialist advice and technical services to government departments, beekeepers and industry.Ē  


Regional & Seasonal Bee Inspectors     Click here for the latest RBI contacts list

RBIís and SBIís are employed by DEFRA via the NBU. An SBI is an experienced beekeeper who has a seasonal job of keeping track of beekeepers within their area and arranging inspections every few years.  The primary purpose of these inspections is to prevent devastating diseases such as EFB: European Foul Brood & AFB: American Foul brood spreading in the UK .  They are very much here to help and are a great source of up to date information and advice.   The part time SBIís report to the RBIís and the RBIís often give topical lectures & demonstrations to local bee clubs focused on bee health.  


BDI:   Bee Disease Insurance (England & Wales only)

BDI is an independent company run by beekeepers for beekeepers in England & Wales.  BDI is an insurance policy that gives you payment should your bees need to be destroyed due to severe disease specifically EFB or AFB (see Problems).  It has a sliding scale of charges dependant on the maximum number of colonies that you run in the season.  

It is not normal for hobby beekeepers to deal directly with the BDI company and your local association secretary can advise you on how to proceed.  Most associations provide this service and with some it is compulsory to be in BDI to be in the local association, others in lower risk areas may not provide this service at all.

BDI is not part of the BBKA but is often confused as being associated with the BBKA usually for two reasons:


The BBKA promote and endorse the BDI frequently.


Many local associations pay both the BBKA and the BDI to fully insure their members, and their members in turn think of them as one entity which they are not. 

BBKA = Third Party & Product Liability Insurance (Honey)

BDI =  AFB & EFB Bee Disease Insurance


BIBBA:  Bee Improvement and Bee Breeder Association

The Bee Improvement and Bee Breeder Association runs conferences and lectures with an emphasis on bee breeding. It encourages members to set up local breeding groups. It produces the 'Bee Improvement' magazine.


IBRA: International Bee Research Association

The International Bee Research Association set up to increase peoples awareness of the vital role of bees in agriculture and the natural environment and to promote the study and conservation of bees. It is linked to Cardiff University and runs International conferences. It has a library service and produces publications such as 'BeeWorld'.


BFA:   Bee Farmers Association

Should you ever expand to over 40 colonies of bees then you qualify to join the Bee Farmers Association.   The Bee Farmers Association is affiliated to the NFU (National Farmers Union) and exists to:


To further the interests of Bee Farmers in the United Kingdom.


To promote the maximum national use of the honey bee for the pollination of crops and production of honey. 


To maintain high standards in the production, packing and selling of honey in the United Kingdom.