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Posted 09 January 05

EU Directive EC2004/28/EC

The European Commission plans to make honeybee medications available only on prescription and therefore available only through vets.

This new Directive is due to come into force in October 2005, Beekeepers are just starting to hear about it despite the new legislation being published by the European Commission on 30 April 2004.

The plans for honeybee medications to be prescription-only are part of a new EC Directive (EC 2004/28/EC) which will apply to medicines for all food-producing animals. No exceptions have been made or planned and beekeepers are so alarmed at the new legislation that lobbying for an exemption for honeybees has begun.

Why is Directive 2004/28/EC is bad for beekeeping ?

Vets in most European countries have little knowledge or experience of honeybees, neither do they receive any training in this area within the UK

Will beekeepers have to take hives to vets to obtain prescriptions, or call vets to attend their apiaries ?

The involvement of any other agency in the dispensing of bee treatments will increase costs of medication which in turn will discourage the use of approved products and encourage the use of unapproved titleernatives that can be unreliable and possibly dangerous.

Existing approved honeybee treatments have been shown to offer no significant risk to humans. The need for prescriptions is therefore totally irrelevant.

There are very few medicines used for the treatment of pests and diseases in Honeybees in the British Isles. These are Apiguard, Apistan, Bayvarol and Fumidil B and the latter is the only one that is ingested by bees. The former three of these are use for the control of the Varroa mite. There is no argument about the control of Varroa, if it as not controlled then colonies will die.

Will beekeepers have to ask the veterinary to carry out this treatment and who will bear the extra cost.?

If this legislation is ratified, it is without doubt that some beekeepers will give up their hobby resulting in a loss of the honeybee and the world's best pollinating insect in both agricultural and horticultural crops and the native flora.

Sub note:

DEFRA has stated in a letter dated 13 Dec 04, that .... "According to our records no veterinary medicinal product containing oxalic acid is authorised for the use in bees. Administration of oxalic acid crystals would not, therefore be permitted under the legislation."


This means that the use of oxalic acid crystals in beekeeping is technically illegal.

What to do

If you consider this new regulation a bad investment for beekeeping write to any or all of the following ....

You are invited to send your comments by 5 May 2005.

Comments should be send to Jennifer Prescott, Veterinary Medicines Directorate,

Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3LS, or e-mail

Write to:

Lord Whitty

Minister for Food, Farming and Sustainable Energy.

Nobel House

17, Smith Square

London SW 1P 3JR


Write to: Your local MP


Write to: Your National Beekeeping Association



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