Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Beekeeping court case

  1. #1

    Default Beekeeping court case

    Posting this for people's information without comment on the merits or otherwise of the case

  2. #2


    I assume as it has been posted in here we can discuss?

    2 things come to mind :-
    1. According to Beebase the U.K. wide VMD allows Checkmite+ to be imported via a vet.
    2. These alleged offences are not that recent.

  3. #3


    I have posted a response on another forum where it turned up first. I cannot say too much at this time.

  4. #4


    I think that is absolutely fair enough C4U. All the best.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Exiled Scot, North of Stoke on Trent,


    Quote Originally Posted by Calluna4u View Post
    I have posted a response on another forum where it turned up first. I cannot say too much at this time.
    I wish you all the best.

  6. #6


    I see this is all over the press again tonight.

    As stated before I will give a full account of things to the bee community after its all done and dusted.

    Seems the other side can say what they like but if I do its possibly contempt of court...............

    Rest assured its not as bad as the press reports make it seem.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Aberdeenshire, on top of a wind-swept and exposed hill.


    Best wishes with the case, C4U.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    North Yorkshire


    A total off topic question, Calluna4u, but as a commercial keeper how do you manage swarming with the large number of hives and the limited time you have?
    Illegitimi non carborundum.....


    This generated discussion on swarm control so I moved these posts to a new thread. You can find that discussion here:

    Last edited by gavin; 02-02-2017 at 02:34 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Blog Entries


    The post seems to have gone off topic, I see its on the Irish beekeeping facebook page, lots of righteous people there.

  10. #10


    The court case finally concluded today.

    Reports in the press and on radio are OTT. A press release, not disputed, was made after the sentencing but appear not to have been used by the more sensational reporters.

    I am posting it for information only. Nothing in it should be taken in any way to be attributable to those who operate this forum.

    In the end I was fined for two technical breaches of veterinary medicines law, namely the procuring and possession of OTC without a proper license to do so, and prior to a prescription being issued.

    I was not penalised for its use.

    If this topic is of interest to any of you please read the following in full before firing off an opinion.

    .................................................. .................................................. .....................................

    Denrosa Apiaries
    Victoria Street, Coupar Angus, Perthshire, PH13 9AE, UK
    Mobile 07736 115559

    Bee Farmers and Honey Suppliers

    Denrosa, 1st February 2017


    Over recent months we have been going through a legal process concerning the useage of oxytetracycline for the treatment of European Foulbrood in our bees during the late summer of 2009.

    Earlier that summer an outbreak of European Foulbrood (henceforth referred to as EFB), rarely seen in Scotland prior to this, was diagnosed, initially in our bees in co-operation with a locally based bee inspector, for which the Scottish bee industry and the Scottish government were completely unprepared. Upon fuller investigation it was found to already be a deep seated and widely distributed problem in much of the professional sector in eastern Scotland. That it was first discovered in our bees has no bearing on the source, which remains unknown. The outbreak had the potential to decimate the bee industry.

    There was no full time government inspection service and no preparedness in place for such an unanticipated event, but the Scottish government quickly put together a team from a standing start to address the problem. This was all done with the full co-operation of the bee industry as this was a huge crisis and required all to be pulling together to prevent the destruction of the professional bee sector and probable eventual spread into all sectors.

    At all times during this event we played a leading role in this co-operation, and assisted in the government in development of a plan to contain the spread of the disease and to provide temporary medically aided protection pending a proper assessment, in anticipation it would take until spring 2010 for a full assessment of colonies to be undertaken. The problem was so large, and the state of preparedness so poor, that it was impossible to deal with it all in the relatively brief window that was available to us in 2009. (In explanation, July and August are months when heather honey is being produced. It is crucial that no antibiotic is applied to bees at that time to prevent it entering the human food chain, so treatment could only be done in September and October, before winter conditions set in and the bees cannot be effectively treated or even diagnosed.)

    The options available were destruction of symptomatic colonies, or treatment with oxytetracycline to keep it under control until the situation was clearer. (It was too late in the year for successful shook swarming.)

    The National Bee Unit website also specifies oxytetracycline, in the formulation Terramycin, as the medical treatment for control of EFB.

    From the moment it was agreed that a full programme of oxytetracycline treatment would be applied we had concerns about timing. The medication was to be provided through the government inspectorate, who were doing their absolute best, but their team was still acquiring expertise and we had a fear the supply would be delayed. So, with it being agreed that oxytetracycline would be used for temporary protection during the outbreak, we took the step of ordering in a private supply, for use in the event the official supply would be delayed. (The practicalities of performing three treatments per colony, which is the correct way it is done, on the largest bee farm in the UK, meant we needed the full 8 week window to do it.) If we had NOT ordered it, and the official supply was delayed, we would have faced the possible loss of most of our bees. It would be too late to do anything about it once the delay was actually happening, so it was ordered, initially as a precaution. We ordered the correct recommended product, but did so without going through all the proper protocols. We had already had to burn 169 colonies of our bees, the problem was spreading rapidly, and had to do our very best to save the rest. To NOT be prepared for such an eventuality would have been a dereliction of my duty to protect the bees.

    The product sourced was Terramycin, which is a brand name for oxytetracycline.

    This was not a secret, it was widely known we had done this, and we were at all times open about it.
    By September the official supply had not appeared, and so we initiated our treatment using the privately sourced product, mixed and administered at exactly the same strength and dosage and in the identical manner to the agreed method for the supplied product, on which we all received official training.

    As soon as the official supply arrived (part way through September) we moved over to that product and never used the private product again.

    This was an officially sanctioned treatment using oxytetracycline, a recommended treatment for EFB. What we used was no different.

    Despite press reports to the contrary this is NOT a banned medication. The status is rather that it does not have a specific approval for general use on bees but CAN be used for EFB if prescribed. Oxytetracycline WAS prescribed for this case.

    Mr McGregor plead guilty to the offence of importing (from the USA) a supply of Terramycin, to possessing it for a period of time, and to using it for the initial part of the treatment programme, all without a proper licence to source the product. This much is not something we seek to deny and were completely open about it at all times and gave those investigating the matter all the information they asked for.

    At no time did any OTC enter the food chain. All our honey is tested multiple times and there has never been a problem with anything we have supplied, despite misleading initial press reports.

    There are also reports describing Mr. McGregor as the ‘Royal beekeeper’. This is not the case. He has never been such a person. He was fortunate enough to have the privilege of being allowed to place hives on Royal estates from the mid 1980s onwards. At no time has he ever described himself as the Royal beekeeper and indeed it is completely inaccurate to do so. He sincerely hopes the erroneous reporting has not caused embarrassment to the Royal family or anyone connected with it.

    We would like to conclude by putting on record our gratitude and appreciation for the effort that all those on the official side in Scotland have made to help see the industry through these critical years. From Cabinet secretary downwards to the field inspectorate we have had nothing but help and support. Appreciation also to the brilliant team at SASA for the rapid way they adapted to the wave of samples that headed their way. We also would like to thank my colleagues elsewhere in the UK for their *universal* support, and to the Bee Farmers Association for all their help, and to the many non-Scottish bee inspectors and former bee inspectors who have been good friends and offered formal and informal support through this whole event.

    Murray McGregor


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts