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The Honey Bee Health Strategy

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Overview of the strategy

AIM: To achieve a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Scotland through strengthened partnership working between stakeholders with interests in honey bees

OUTCOMES

PROPOSED INITIATIVES AND ACTIVITIES

1. Education, Training and Knowledge Transfer

- good standards of beekeeping and husbandry will minimise pest and disease risks and contribute to sustaining healthy honey bee populations

(i) Continue to promote and access the education and training available through the Scottish Agriculture College ( SAC), the Scottish Beekeepers Association ( SBA) and also through local associations, e.g. to raise awareness of disease threats (such as EFB, AFB and Varroa) and how to identify them; best management practices; disease control methods and home-based queen rearing activities

(ii) Develop and publish a common set of good husbandry principles, including regular monitoring of colonies and apiary health planning

(iii) Improve the education of beekeepers and standards of bee husbandry by co-ordinating and streamlining training programmes, outreach initiatives and examinations

(iv) Explore the scope for home-based queen rearing through co-ordinated education and training initiatives

(v) Encourage the exchange of good breeding stock within Scotland

(vi) Maintain contingency planning for the possible arrival of exotic pests, diseases and undesirable species

2. Communication

- effective communication and relationships operating at all levels

(i) Review and strengthen communications and liaison arrangements between representative bodies and the Scottish Government - e.g. through annual meetings and regular dialogue with Bee Inspectors

(ii) Issue of routine updates and alerts to beekeepers through the Scottish branch of the BFA and the SBA

(iii) Develop and implement a co-ordinated strategic communication plan between all stakeholders with an interest in honey bees

3. Surveillance, Diagnosis and Biosecurity

- positive surveillance based on vigilance, reporting and diagnosis

(i) Continue to monitor high risk areas and provide early warning of evidence of new exotic pests and diseases

(ii) Establish a database of Scottish beekeepers

(iii) Raise awareness about exotic pests, undesirable alien species and import risks with relevant agencies, beekeepers and with honey importers and packers

(iv) Strengthen enforcement of existing regulations, develop and publish clear guidance on best practice for disease control, including the importation of honey bees

(v) Strengthen and raise awareness of existing voluntary arrangements on domestic sale of honey bees

(vi) Raise awareness of the impact and interaction of honey bees and bumble bees

(vii) Review and improve current arrangements and practices in relation to other hazards such as Small Hive Beetle ( SHB)

(viii) Ensure suitable diagnostic systems are available to beekeepers, associations and Government and that arrangements are in place for sample submission and reporting of results

(ix) Develop strategies for controlling foulbrood diseases to reduce incidences to the lowest achievable level

4. Research and Development

- sound science and evidence underpinning bee health policy, disease prevention and control, and good husbandry

(i) Ensure the contingency plan for exotic bee pests and diseases is regularly maintained

(ii) Improve co-ordination and collaboration of research with other research funding bodies

(iii) Commission science and evidence appropriately to support policy development

(iv) Ensure that research priorities, scientific developments and evidence are shared widely with the science community and beekeepers