What does BDI cover?

BDI compensates insured beekeepers for equipment losses where their bees are destroyed or treated under the Bees Act 1980, The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006 and The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006, or any similar order in force at the time, for notifiable diseases, currently European Foul Brood (EFB) and American Foul Brood (AFB) by a Bee Inspector appointed by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). There is a limited fund if Small Hive Beetle or Tropilaelaps arrives (see below). BDI is only available to beekeepers living in England and Wales. Current compensation rates can be seen here

How does BDI work with WBKA, BBKA and the Bee Inspection Service?

BDI is independent, but works closely with them all. The majority of beekeepers who are insured under BDI are members of WBKA and BBKA, but not all. The NBU Bee Inspectors diagnose and destroy or treat colonies and will certify the losses. BDI are grateful for the help and co-operation we receive from these organisations.

My BKA isn’t a BDI member – Why not?

BDI encourages all BKAs in England and Wales to become BDI members, so their beekeepers can have the benefit of compensation. Even though some areas are considered to be low risk for foul brood, in reality it should be seen as a threat everywhere, as it appears regularly in unexpected areas. This could be as a result of infected stock movement that is not known to local beekeepers.

If you would like your BKA to consider becoming members of BDI, then approach them and ask them to contact the BDI President. Further information on joining BDI can be found here

How can I join BDI?

See our Becoming a Member page.

Can Junior Beekeepers be insured?

Junior (under 18) beekeepers should be treated in exactly the same way as other beekeeping members of your association with cover taken for the number of hives they manage. There is no specific minimum age to be insured. The Junior must be in a position to bank a cheque issued by BDI in the event of a claim.

Who has to pay BDI?

It is a condition of membership that all BKAs who are BDI Members pay their subscription to BDI based on the number of beekeeping members they have. How they collect that money is up to them. Some BKAs include it in their subscription, others as an add on. If the latter there is no opt-out, so the BKA will have to pay it if the beekeeper does not. Premiums for additional colonies are also paid to the BKA.

BDI is included in my BKA subscription. What am I paying for?

The “basic” is your subscription, which includes cover for the minimum number of colonies. If you have more colonies you should pay an additional amount, or you can make additions at any time if you expect your colony numbers to increase above the level of cover. The former is termed “subscription”, the latter “premium”. You should be aware that under insurance may mean you are not covered and a late payment will be subject to the “40 day rule”.

What is the 40 day rule?

This was introduced to protect all beekeepers and to stop beekeepers seeking cover only when they discovered they had Foul Brood. All subscriptions and premiums that are paid before 31 March will take effect immediately. These, plus any “top up” paid after 31 March will not enjoy cover for 40 days following payment to the local BKA.. It is therefore sensible for the beekeeper to pay on time and allow for any expected increase in the numbers of colonies they may have during the season, which might be due to swarm control, collecting swarms or queen rearing.

How many colonies should I cover?

All colonies owned by a beekeeper must be covered; otherwise none are, even if only one colony is destroyed. Many beekeepers underestimate the numbers of colonies they might have during the active season, so BDI introduced a banding scheme to help ensure that beekeepers who collect swarms, make artificial swarms or nuclei during the season do not find themselves with inadequate cover. If, for example, you normally run ten colonies but have the equipment and facilities to have more, you should consider paying the premium for the next band. The important thing when considering how many to cover is to make an accurate count of the starting number of colonies and then to add the plans, hopes or expectations of increase in the coming season.

Should all bees on a communal site be covered?

All colonies on a communal site must be covered with BDI taken out by the respective owners, otherwise none are covered. A communal site is a permanent or temporary apiary site, which is shared by two or more beekeepers. BDI consider that apiary sites on the opposite side of the same field are separate apiaries but if in the same garden would be communal, however each case must be considered on its merits. If in doubt, it is best to ensure that each beekeeper has cover and if not, then do not use the site. Communal BKA sites normally have robust rules, so a check with the apiary manager is all that is required. If the BKA is a BDI member, then it is obliged to collect subscriptions and premiums from all its members so by default all users of the site have the opportunity to be fully covered, but it is still your responsibility to check.

How are the compensation rates calculated?

BDI does not offer compensation on a new for old basis. The compensation rates are calculated on 90% of the catalogue prices of a well-known major beekeeping equipment supplier in the UK.

The maximum compensation payable to an individual is £3,000 in any one year of insurance.

I have been told my compensation claim has been reduced. Why is this?

Compensation claims can be reduced for the following reasons:-

    • The combs and equipment are old and/or are in poor condition. This will be at the discretion of the Bee Inspector.

    • If claims have been made in both the previous two years, compensation will be reduced by 25%.

    • If claims have been made in all the previous three years, compensation will be reduced by 50%.

    • If claims have been made in all the previous four years, compensation will be reduced by 75%.

Am I still covered if I make a claim?

On the payment of a claim for any reason, or if a claim for colony destruction on account of Small Hive Beetle or Tropilaelaps mites is accepted, the number of colonies covered is reduced proportionately, i.e. by the number of colonies destroyed. If the number of colonies subsequently increases additional insurance cover must be obtained and will be subject to the 40-day rule.

Are Apideas or other mini-nucs covered?

Apideas are not included in the compensation rates and they do not therefore have to be counted as a colony. No compensation is payable so no premiums are required to be paid in respect of mini-nucs.

Should a Nucleus Box be counted?

Yes. Any single colony containing standard frames, which are included in the compensation list, should be included. Each nucleus, whatever the size counts as one colony.

Are Snelgroved (and Taranoved) colonies covered?

These will be covered, provided, of course, that they were counted as one colony when deciding how many colonies to cover and they will revert to one colony when the operation is complete.

Are Top Bar Hives & Warre hive frames covered?

Any frames destroyed as a result of a notifiable disease are covered in the normal way. The compensation rates for these frames are shown on the making a claim section of this website..

If I take swarms during the year will they be included?

If the swarm is collected with the intention of keeping and hiving it, then obviously it becomes part of your property and is counted as one colony. You must allow for this possible increase when calculating your dues. If, as often happens, you collect a swarm and before it is hived, pass it on to another member who is short of bees, it is the responsibility of the new owner to cover them.

I have just bought some bees that have foul brood. What do I do?

If they are likely to have been infected when you bought them, then you should claim from the seller. The National Bee Unit will then probably inspect the seller’s apiary.

The banding means I insure for more colonies than I have. Why?

Experience shows that a number of beekeepers consistently under-pay by not declaring all the colonies they actually have, or will have, or creep above due to normal increase. Sometimes this happens because they collect and keep a swarm, or have one given to them, which they did not expect to keep. It is to help beekeepers avoid this problem that banding was introduced. It seems to be working because the number of cases of underpayment has fallen significantly since banding was introduced.

Will the compensation be paid if I under-state the number of my colonies?

The scheme can only operate with members acting in good faith, so to knowingly under-pay is to breach the basis of trust on which the scheme operates. It means that other beekeepers potentially have to pay more to make up for the premiums that are lost as a result of the underpayment. Consistent or intentional underpayment will result in any claim for compensation being rejected. Similar rules apply to most forms of compensation arrangements nowadays. However, the managers of our schemes have always dealt with cases on an individual basis, exercising discretion where appropriate and where the beekeeper has acted reasonably; they will continue to do so.

Who owns BDI?

The owners of BDI are the Beekeeping Associations (BKAs) who have joined BDI. Each holds one share that cannot be transferred. No dividends are paid. If the company is wound up, the assets would be disposed of in any manner approved by a special general meeting as calculated to benefit a majority of the general class of beekeepers in England and Wales.

Can I make suggestions to improve the scheme?

BDI is run by beekeepers for beekeepers and the terms of insurance are not set in tablets of stone. If a member BKA or beekeepers have ideas for improving the scheme please let BDI know. Provided they are practicable, do not contradict the registered rules of BDI Ltd and appear to be the wishes of the majority, then you can expect the Management Committee to consider the proposals. However, please remember that the Directors & Officers may be personally liable if BDI Ltd is not run on a sound financial and business like basis. It is essential therefore, that beekeepers pay the correct dues for their colonies.

Can BDI cover for other risks?

Under their registration BDI is unable to cover for other risks.

Are the premiums I have paid secure?

BDI is regulated as an insurance company by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority. As such it has to maintain sufficient solvency to be able to meets its likely claims based on policies issued. The company does not pay dividends, so all retained earnings are available to support the company's activities.

Am I covered in respect of Small Hive Beetle and the Tropilaelaps mite?

The Directors have agreed that there should be a scheme in the event of these pests arriving in England or Wales. As with varroa, when they do arrive they may well become endemic and have to be managed as an element of routine beekeeping practice. Compensation for the destruction of honey bee colonies because of Small Hive Beetle and Tropilaelaps infestation is consistent with BDI’s founding principles, that a compensation scheme encourages beekeepers to come forward if there is any cause for concern. It was agreed in 2006 that BDI cover should be extended to compensate for the statutory destruction of colonies, hives and equipment on account of either Small Hive Beetle or Tropilaelaps infestations. A maximum amount of £50,000. per annum will be available to cover claims. Each eligible claim will be covered to a maximum of £150 per hive. This amount will be adjusted to take into account the condition of equipment, (Excellent - as new, Good or Poor, as certified by the Bee Inspector), providing the beekeeper is not otherwise insured or entitled to obtain compensation elsewhere. The amount will be calculated pro rata between all claims in any year, so if they collectively exceed £50,000, each claim will be proportionately reduced. Settlement will be made after all claims for that year are processed. Should these pests become endemic and statutory control abandoned, then BDI compensation cover will cease.