The NFDBKA ran one of their meetings today where about 40 of us met up with three of the local Bee Inspectors. We went to see some hives with them and watched as they went through their inspections of the hives and bee colonies therein. This is very useful as we get to see someone else's site, how the inspectors carry out their inspection and we get to talk to lots of other bee keepers (including the inspectors) and discuss local Bee related issues and tips. It was a very sunny day too, a real bonus. 40 plus people dressed in bee suits can attract attention, but fortunately this site was out in the sticks.
Unfortunately, the bee inspectors found European Foul Brood in some of the hives. This was a terrible blow for the owner, but very interesting for us all to see how an infected colony looked, what to look for and how to use the foul brood test packs. These are kinda like a pregnancy check; you take a sample (in this case, a grub from the hive) and shake it up with a solution. Then a couple of drops are added to a plastic strip which after a minute will change to show whether there was foul brood present or not. The second photo here shows the inspector checking the strip. If you suspect you have any disease in any of your hives, you must by law (in the UK) get the local inspector in to check your hives. And don't forget to register your bees on the BeeBase.