A guide for BKAs, Treasurers and Beekeepers

Bee Diseases Insurance Limited is a registered community benefit society and is regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority.

We compensate beekeepers in England and Wales who have had their colonies destroyed or treated by a Bee Inspector as a result of being infected by a notifiable disease - currently European Foul Brood (EFB) and American Foul Brood (AFB). We have a contingency fund to compensate for colonies destroyed as the result of being infested by a notifiable pest (Small Hive Beetle and Tropilaelaps), should they reach England or Wales.

BDI is owned by a number of BKAs who are their members. There are no full time employees or premises. BDI is run by a small group of officers on a day–to–day basis from their homes. In addition there is a Board of Directors who meet regularly. The vast majority of officers and directors are beekeepers. All officers and directors are elected by the member BKAs at the Annual General Meetings.

For Member BKAs and Officials

A BKA is a member of BDI because their members wish to be. This was decided by their members at the time of admission into membership. A condition of membership is that the member BKA shall pay as its subscription a fee for each of its beekeeping members. This can be collected in any way the BKA wishes.

They are allowed to vote at a general meeting. The arrangement at local level varies, in some cases the county BKA being the member, in others the Divisions or Branches.

The local BKA pays a basic subscription on behalf of each of its beekeeping members together with any additional premiums, whether collected with the initial subscription or as a “top – up” later. These are for each calendar year 1 January to 31 December. The local BKA retains the fees until they are requested by the BDI Treasurer to pay. This is twice a year and these payments are known as “Spring return” and “Autumn return”. The promptness of these makes it easier for the BDI Treasurer. A late return from the BKA Treasurer may cause problems with the payment of compensation to a beekeeper, so it is in everyone’s interest to make sure these returns are made on time.

For the beekeeper

Your BDI subscription will be paid along with the local BKA subscription. This is compulsory if your BKA is a BDI member. You will also be asked to pay premiums for the number of additional colonies you expect to have during the year, above the basic free colonies although you can also top-up during the year. If you claim and have more colonies than you are insured for, you will not receive any compensation.

If you are given a receipt by your Treasurer, this needs to be retained in case you have to make a claim.

All beekeepers have a responsibility to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of disease that may affect your bees. The National Bee Unit’s website, and advisory leaflets contain information on the symptoms of notifiable diseases and how to distinguish them from common diseases or disorders. If you suspect your bees may be infected with foul brood you should:

    • Reassemble the colony.

    • Contact your local Bee Inspector and wait for instructions.

    • Disinfect your hive tool, gloves and bee suit appropriately. If unsure on how to do this, seek advice from the Bee Inspector.

    • Even before the Bee Inspector visits you, there is a statutory standstill order in place. This prevents you from moving any beekeeping material out of the apiary.

    • If foul brood is confirmed you will be given a form by the Bee Inspector and he/she will decide the minimum processes you have to undertake. Please ensure that all parts are completed and send it with a copy of your insurance receipt to the Claims Manager - see further details on our making a claim page

    • If there are no problems the Claims Manager will arrange for compensation payment ASAP.


BDI exists to help all beekeepers, especially those unfortunate enough to have their bees infected with foul brood. It is BDI policy to settle queries and claims to the satisfaction of all as quickly as possible. As staff are volunteers there may be delays for holidays, illness, etc.

Many of the settlement delays are due to things that could have been avoided and include things such as claims made by a different person than the insured beekeeper, under insurance and claims forms not being completed properly.

BDI encourages all beekeepers to register on BeeBase as this will help Bee Inspectors alert known beekeepers in the vicinity of a foul brood outbreak.