As part of an initiative started by the National Bee Unit (NBU) the local volunteer role of Bee Health Advisor (BHA) has been established.
BHAs are well-known experienced beekeeper volunteers who can assist local beekeepers in the recognition and control of disease and provide advice and help on good husbandry methods. They provide liaison between beekeepers and the National Bee Unit acting as a first point of contact for local beekeepers to approach if advice is needed on the health of colonies.
They are ready to provide you with support if required thereby indirectly helping the NBU target inspections more efficiently. If a local BHA can put a beekeeper’s mind at rest, say with a chalk brood problem or drone laying queen, it saves an inspector from having to break from higher priority inspections to arrive at the same conclusion. BHAs hold supplies of Lateral Flow Devices for confirming foul brood as well as supplies of sample bags and larval sample tubes. If there is any suspicion that a colony has foul brood disease then the BHA will always contact an Authorised Bee Inspector (ABI) to flag up the suspected problem.
BHAs only visit beekeepers apiaries if invited by the beekeeper, and then only if they feel able to do so. The visit is informal. BHAs have no power of entry or examination and no formal role as an ABI.