Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI)

The insurance company for beekeepers in England & Wales run by beekeepers

Working for bees, education, protection & research


Est: 1936

12 August 2022 - New honey bee research fund set up by CB Dennis Trust, BDI and the BBKA seeks applicants

The health of honey bees is of increasing importance, so the CB Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research Trust, Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd and The British Beekeepers Association are combining to fully fund a three year research studentship into bee health. British Universities and Research Institutes are being invited to apply with a research proposal that would improve our understanding of bee health and contribute to the long-term benefit of bees.

Funding a student to undertake the research for a doctorate also helps ensure that we have high class researchers in the field of bee health for the future. The grant will fully fund the research and is worth up to £90,000 over the three years.

The President of Bees Disease Insurance, Martin Smith said, ‘The ability to provide greater resources to support research into bee diseases through this joint arrangement must be a good thing. We hope significant results will be forthcoming.

The Chair of the British Beekeepers Association, Stephen Barnes said, ‘Cooperating in this way to support high quality research that will ultimately benefit bees, beekeeping and the environment is a really positive step forward.’

The Chair of the CB Dennis British Beekeepers’ Research Trust, Simon Baker said, ‘It is a great opportunity to help improve the outlook for our honey bees and wild bees, and fantastic that three separate organisations with a shared concern for bees can cooperate in this way’

Application forms are available from the CB Dennis Trust website. The closing date for applications is 14 October 2022.

Whole apiary shook swarm trial - 2021-22

Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd - in conjunction with the National Bee Unit - is running a two-year whole apiary shook swarm trial where EFB has been identified.

The National Bee Unit states: “Trials have shown that shaking bees onto new foundation and then destroying the old combs can be beneficial when controlling European foulbrood. This procedure is known as Shook Swarming and it may also be beneficial in controlling Nosema spp., chalk brood and Varroa mite populations. Colonies treated in this way often become the strongest and most productive in an apiary. Some beekeepers are now using this system to replace all the old brood combs in a beehive within a single procedure.”

The pilot scheme replaces training grants offered in recent years.

For more information click here.

Photo courtesy of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Crown Copyright

2023 BDI Rates

As part of the work Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI) has to do to meet the requirements of the regulators that supervise our insurance business, BDI has conducted a review of its premiums. This has resulted in a small decrease to the premiums charged for the following bands:

Up to 5 colonies, including the basic 3 colonies

Old additional premium rate £2.00; new 2023 rate £1.20

Up to 10 colonies, including the basic 3 colonies

Old additional premium rate £5.25; new 2023 rate £4.70


The basic subscription of £2.00 for the first three colonies and all other bands will remain the same.

Due to careful husbandry of its resources, BDI has not increased its premiums in the recent past, and in fact has absorbed several rises in Insurance Premium Tax that are included in the subscription and premiums charged. These new rates apply for the calendar year 2023.

These premiums will apply for returns submitted from the Spring 2023. Using the ER2 membership system, no action is necessary as the additional premiums are calculated automatically when a member enters the number of colonies to insure.

Photo courtesy of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Crown Copyright

BDI-funded research shows Varroa resistance is increasing

A four-year research project funded by BDI into Varroa resistance, carried out by Professor Stephen Martin and PhD student Isobel Grindrod at the University of Salford, describes how bees are evolving to remove the mite. The paper, published in August 2021, is in the Royal Society Journal Proceedings B.


Hygienic bees research supported by BDI

Prof Stephen Martin and his team of researchers at the University of Salford - funded in part by BDI - aims to understand why some honey bee colonies have become naturally tolerant to Varroa and to see if this information can provide beekeepers with a long-term solution to the problem. For the latest papers click here.