[holding answer 1 April 2008]: Importers of queen bees from third countries are required to notify DEFRA about the intended import and then must send the cages and accompanying worker bees to the National Bee Unit for analysis. In the last three calendar years DEFRA was notified of the following imports of queens:
Number 2005 2,385 2006 2,435 2007 3,097
On the basis of the number of colonies estimated by ADAS in their 2001 survey, there are around 273,000 managed honey bee colonies in the UK. In population terms, there are approximately 5 billion honey bees in winter (20,000 per colony), rising to some 16 billion in the summer (60,000 per colony). Numbers of colonies may have declined in recent years. The numbers in each of the next 10 years will depend on the number of beekeepers and their stockmanship and colony husbandry skills, including effective pest and disease management. No estimate has been made of the numbers of bumble bees or solitary bees etc.