Bee Health Improvement Partnership minutes - action log and progress report: May 2022

Paper for the meeting of the group on 17 May 2022.

Outstanding actions

Outstanding action points from previous meetings

4. LM to draft new ‘Good practice for selling nucs’ guidelines and standards and will circulate for comment. Owner LM. Update: At last meeting agreed to leave this open. Meantime, other guidance is out there and therefore low priority. Status: Ongoing.

8. MG to invite LM to next BFA meeting. Owner: AE. Update: AE confirmed there’s not likely to be a meeting until the Autumn or next year. Status: Closed.

9. MG to consider to invite Robert Field to speak to the BFA members, with emphasis on EFB control plan group, on his biosecurity and compartmentalisation methods. Owner: AE. Update: Agreed to close. We will look at this as part of the new strategy and the action relating to the EFB where we will reconsider our approach to controls. Status: Closed. 

32. Graeme to explore SRUC ability to create media content to aid the delivery of Varroa training. Owner: LJ. Update: Agreed to close. We will look at this as part of the new strategy under training and education of beekeepers and consider best options e.g. training packages/webinars on SRUC website or through Magentrix with the SBA. Status: Closed. 

34. Fiona to complete Varroa mapping in Scotland. Owner: FH. Update: Time and software issues remain unresolved. Status: Ongoing. 

35. Luis to speak to Cristina and ask if she would like to attend the next meeting for introductions/Jackie to issue calendar invite. Owner: LM and JQ. Update: Agenda item in this meeting to discuss who we invite to future meetings. Agreed to close. Status: Closed.

38. SG Policy to confirm what import inspections have taken place. Owner AK and LM. Update: SG Policy provided a detailed update at meeting on 28 February 2022. Therefore, group agreed to close. Status: Closed. 

41. Alison to seek clarification from solicitors on wording in the legislation for treatment of infected colonies. Owner: AK. Update: Initial contact has been made however legislation relating to Brexit is currently taking priority. Status: Ongoing. 

42. Group to review the ToR for the BHIP and send any comments to Alison/Linsey before our next meeting. Alison/Linsey to update list of members included in ToR on the SG web page. Owner: All members/AK and LW. Update: Comments only received from the SBA. Group confirmed no other comments. Agreed to keep open until Alison and Linsey have updated list of members. Status: Ongoing. 

43. Phil to arrange a webinar to deliver the training package (whilst this is something we would like to do, given current resources, the timing may be delayed and taken forward when feasible). Owner: PM. Update: Agreed to close as this will form part of the implementation plan of the new strategy under education where we aim to create consistent training for beginners with a standardised syllabus. Status: Closed. 

44. Margaret to review SG guidance on imports and provide feedback on whether this is easier to follow. Owner: MT. Update: Margaret confirmed the guidance was okay and no changes required. Status: Closed. 

45. Linsey to update survey report incorporating suggestions and then re-circulate the final version to the group for sight. Owner: LW. Update: LW circulated final draft of report on 17/03/22 to BHIP for final observations/comments. Report was published on SG web pages on 30/03/22. Status: Closed. 

46. Alison to schedule monthly meetings to focus on the development of the new honey bee health strategy. Owner: AK. Update: Regular meetings organised and taking place. Status: Closed. 

47. The group to send Luis, Alison and Linsey a list of the key issues they feel need addressed and put in the new strategy/ implementation plan. Owner: All. Update: Agreed to close as this forms part of the regular meetings which are taking place as part of the strategy meetings. Status: Closed. 

New action points from last meeting on 17 May 2022

48. Policy team to submit organigram of the SG Bee Inspectorate for 2022 for the SBA Magazine along with a summary and explanation that bee health is devolved in Scotland. Owner: LM/AK/LW. 

49. Policy team to include a Bee Health Day for this year or next year for new commercial beekeepers in the implementation plan. Owner: AK/LW. 

50. Fiona to set up Phil with a contact at the BBCT. Phil, Jim and the BBCT to work together to improve signposting for the public on tree bumblebees to relieve some of the pressure on SBA members. Owner: FH/PM/JJ. 

51. Fiona to speak to the Health and Safety Office in SASA to see if they can provide any names of risk assessors who can provide training for the SBA. Owner: FH. 

52. Policy team to put together suggestions of who to invite to future meetings and send to members for their consent. Owner: AK/LW.

Quarterly reports on the outcomes of the Honey Bee Health Strategy

Each organisation’s update on the key activities completed/delivered for each of the four delivery outcomes of the Scottish Honey Bee Health Strategy.

Outcome 1. Education, Training and Knowledge Transfer 

Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA)

Education continues with practical and theoretical beginner’s courses organised by the affiliated associations. Practical mentoring will continue over the beekeeping season and SBA modular examinations will be undertaken in November 2022. Basic Beekeeping, Junior Beekeeper, Intermediate and Apiarian practical examinations will be undertaken during the beekeeping season.

The Magentrix platform is due to come on line in June 2022 and will have 4 different beekeeping course types from beginners upwards, together with essential service benefits for SBA members.

The SBA will have a major presence at the Royal Highland Show in Ingliston this year and although there will be limited interaction available for members of the public, there will be a considerable emphasis on beekeeping education. Wax moulding and skep making demonstrations will take place and it is anticipated that young beekeepers will be present to assist at all stages of the event. 

Candle rolling and honey tasting are activities which are due to be involved.

A very successful beekeeping/pollen associated microscopy course was held at the laboratory within the Dick Institute, Edinburgh. There were 14 participants and a microscopy examination is due to be held on 10 September 2022.

All the SBA orientated wax, skep making and honey harvesting/processing workshop have recommenced in 2022.


Talks delivered:

  • Edinburgh Entomology Society – 19 Jan – Managed vs Wild pollinators
  • Skye and Lochaber Beekeepers Association – 9 Feb – SASA and Varroa
  • Kilbarchan Beekeepers Association – 8 March - Pests and diseases of honeybees - online
  • SBA microscopy – 12-13 March – in person talks and workshops - Roslin
  • Scottish Bee inspector training - 9-13 April – in person talks and workshops - SASA


  • EBSOC/Annan academy project meetings for Royal Society funded project, including TEAMS meeting with students

Training received:

  • APHA bee inspector training – 4-7 April – York

Scottish Government

  • 8th March: Talk: by Luis Molero and Claire Gill. Perth Beekeepers Association
  • 31st March: Talk by Claire Gill. Inverness Beekeepers Association. Beginner’s course. Introduction to pest/diseases/medicines/legal
  • 20th April: Talk by Luis Molero. SGRPID introduction to Bees

Our bee inspectors have completed a training programme for 2022. Members of the Honey Bee Health Team attended the NBU Technical Conference held at FERA in York from 4th- 7th April. Our inspectors also attended a week’s training at SASA from 9th- 13th May. 

Lorraine Johnston joins us as Scotland’s new Bee Advisor. Lorraine takes over from Graeme Sharpe who took early retirement. While this is a SRUC post, it is funded by the SG. A key part of the role will be working in close partnership with the SG’s Honey Bee Health Team, playing a key role mentoring, developing and maintaining the high standards of our Bee Inspectors. As well as taking technical queries from beekeepers and promoting good beekeeping practices.

British Farmers Association (BFA)

Nothing to report.


There has been no delivery of ‘Training the Trainers’ in Scotland this year.

NDB will not be bidding for funding for training in Scotland.

NDB holders continue to deliver lectures locally in Scotland and at country wide meetings (BBKA Spring Convention in April).

Outcome 2: communication 

Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA)

Nothing to report.


Nothing to report.

Scottish Government

  • 2nd March: Bees: 4-Way Admin Meeting (SG hosting and taking the note)
  • 18th March: HBH Strategy - fortnightly meeting with BHIP
  • 30th March: Publication - Honey Bee Health Strategy Survey 2022 - analysis report
  • 1st April: HBH Strategy - fortnightly meeting with BHIP
  • 13th April: SBA Monthly Article. Summary of the results to the HBHS survey by Linsey Watt - for publication in the May magazine
  • 26th April: Bees: 4-Way Admin Meeting (Defra hosting and taking the note)
  • 26th April: Added guidance on exports to our Bee Health pages on SG website
  • 29th April: HBH Strategy - fortnightly meeting with BHIP
  • 3rd May: Comms issued to stakeholders and operation partners announcing the new Bee Advisor

British Farmers Association (BFA)

BFA representatives have recently been working with the BHIP, providing input on the new Bee Health Strategy 2022 and implementation plan. We have invited Luis Molero on behalf of the partnership to provide an update/launch article for industry journal Bee Farmer (August issue) to highlight the launch of the new strategy and the pillars/themes/actions encompassed therein. The proposed article will also include an update on restructure of the Bee Health Team in Scotland. Team contact details have also been included in the revised 2022 BFA Year Book, to promote/facilitate communications from our Scottish members. 

An article on the work of Luke Woodford (University of St Andrews), was included in the February issue of Bee Farmer outlining the project Using Coordinated Miticide Treatments on the Isle of Arran.


Attend BHIP meetings and pass on relevant information to beekeepers in local Associations.

Outcome 3: surveillance, diagnosis and biosecurity

Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA)

Sentinel apiaries will still be monitored as are the feral colonies identified by Magnus Peterson. A report on the work undertaken on these feral colonies is already in the SBA magazine.

Beekeepers are aware of the threat posed by the Asian Hornet and are advised to look for any sign of these at all apiary visits.

Similar activities are undertaken by beekeepers on the situation of AFB and EFB and full colony inspections are advised at least twice yearly during the beekeeping season.

Advise is very prevalent relating to hygiene at apiaries both at a personal and affiliated association apiary level.

Mathew Richardson has also submitted a report in the SBA magazine as to relevant treatments for the varroa mite.


Continued provision of Varroa screening services and testing of dead bees from unexplained colony losses. 

Discussions with colleagues at other laboratories re testing methods and Quality assurance checks; initial training of new staff to provide continued cover following staffing changes.

Scottish Government

Our inspection programme for 2022 has begun. 

Luis Molero and Claire Gill visited all (except one) of the signatories to the EFB control plan. We held a meeting with each of them where we reviewed their performance on the EFB control plan and provided feedback and areas of importance/improvement for the 2022 season. Bee Farmers were also given the opportunity to provide feedback on the interaction and performance of the Bee Inspectorate and their participation on the EFB control plan. We discussed the different areas of difficulty on EFB eradication. A specific report for each of them was produced and discussed. This will form the basis for our inspection risk matrix for 2022.

British Farmers Association (BFA)

Nothing to report.


Nothing to report.

Outcome 4: research and development 

Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA)

The SBA received a very kind on of donation of £1000 from David Foreman in memory of his wife Janet to be used for the purposes of research into bee behaviour.

The recipient of this award is Anna Hadjitofi who is undertaking a PhD at Edinburgh University, studying dance behaviour in honeybees. As a trustee of the SBA, submitted an award application for this fund and to ensure fairness to the applicants, the SBA gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Fiona Highet, MBE, SASA who assisted Mathew Richardson in the selection of the appropriate candidate. We also gratefully acknowledge the Scottish Government in the use of their selection system in this process.
Anna, will research the “Dance Behaviour” of the honeybee in greater detail than that previously done and will report her findings in due course and also to the SBA members.


Bid for proposed PhD studentship on ‘competition between managed and wild pollinators in different (Scottish) landscapes was unsuccessful but very close; team plan to resubmit bid in autumn 2022. 

Contact made with Bristol student studying competition at heather in Scotland. 

We intend to carry out a small amount of Bees-R and D this season – project to be agreed.

Scottish Government

Pending discussion with SASA regarding samples taken in 2021 for PCR analysis of subclinical disease.

British Farmers Association (BFA)

The BFA is continuing to work with Giles Budge (Newcastle University) and David Evans (University St Andrews) on the CBPV project, with members recently completing a survey on protein supplementation practices to inform experimental work this season.


Nothing to report.

End of report

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