Bee Health Improvement Partnership minutes: March 2019

Minutes of the meeting of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) on 19 March 2019.

Attendees and apologies

  • Steve Sunderland, SG, Lead Bee Inspector
  • Fiona Highet, SG-SASA, Senior Entomologist
  • Gavin Ramsay, SBA, Bee Health Convener
  • Margaret Thomas, BFA, Representative
  • Alan Riach, SBA, President
  • Phil McAnespie, SBA, Vice President
  • Bron Wright, SBA, Past President
  • Margaret Ginman, BFA, General Secretary
  • Jackie Quigley, SG, Secretariat
  • Angus MacAskill, SG, Bee Inspector
  • John Smith, SG, Bee Inspector


  • Murray McGregor, BFA
  • Graeme Sharpe, SRUC

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

  • Steve welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  • Apologies received from Graeme Sharpe and Murray McGregor

Minutes and Actions Points (24th January 2019)

Previous minutes were approved.


  • Royal Highland Show - the SBA will shortly be asking people what they would like to display in the tent. Any displays will be dependent on space. If SASA are allowed to display a banner they will need to let the photographer know soon
  • EU exit update – check the BeeBase News section for updates. After the 29th March you can only export Queens and not packages
  • “If the UK leaves the EU with no deal the UK will become a Third Country at 11 pm on 29/03/2019 and will need to meet EU Third Country import requirements in order to export bees to the EU. In that event, colonies of honey bees will no longer be eligible for export, only queens. We would therefore recommend to avoid any unforeseen issues, that you make travel arrangements that guarantee the arrival of the consignment at its stated destination prior to this time’
  • Train the Trainer – The Train the Trainer course in November will go ahead as planned. Hopefully Scotland will have their own Train the Trainers. Action point: Graeme Sharpe to check with Lantra and see what is available
  • honey bee health days – Fiona has had a look at the halls at Dunblane and there seems to be plenty of rooms. Doors don’t open until 9 am and that is when registration is meant to start. Request to hall manager for earlier access to set up. Parking seems to be a bit of an issue, this will be put on the instructions. The numbers for the health days are Dunblane – 31, Kelso – 23 possibly another 4 for Kelso. There was a discussion regarding PVG and there will be school students attending this health day. It was the consensus that as long as the students remained with their adult teacher this should be ok
  • Graeme will pay for catering and room hire. Volunteers get accommodation paid for by Graeme also. Volunteers shouldn’t be out of pocket
  • Lead Bee Inspector Development – Steve’s post has been advertised but will now be going to external candidates
  • EU specialist area nominee – Steve applied for this and has been accepted. First meeting will be held in Sweden on the 7th and 8th May 2019. This opportunity is for one year only. Steve is attending as an individual and not a civil servant
  • BHAF (Bee Health Advisory Forum) – Steve gave a presentation to the group regarding our scheme. The meetings are held in London, York or Stoneleigh
  • BHIP may need to nominate someone to go to these meeting’s in Steve’s absence. Steve suggested either Fiona or Graeme could work it between them until a LBI has been appointed. You can also do these meetings by webinar or teleconference
  • update on “world of bees and honey” – there has been no update yet
  • Christmas 2019 – request sent to Michelle to put round the SBA members. Nothing back from Michelle as yet. Could this be held in Edinburgh as it’s more convenient to get to? Also may be worth considering Glasgow. Action point: this will be raised at the SBA trustee meeting on 6th April and discussed to see where this would be best suited

Group photo request for SBA magazine

The photo was taken and will be sent to Amanda Millen (SBA magazine editor). ACTION POINT: Accompanying text may be required to explain the role of the BHIP.

Bee farmer training day

The Bee Farmers three yearly refresher training day will be held at Battleby on the 21st May 2019.

Funding issues

Given SG make use of the beekeeping expertise of the BHIP and other ‘in kind’ contribution by SBA and BFA in many ways this is considered to be a quantifiable expense. Representations made and result is award of £5,000 each to BFA and SBA.


An SG auditor has noticed that we haven’t reviewed our KPI’s in a while.

Action point: Steve to send out the last KPI’s for review by BHIP members.


SBA – Mr Charles Irwin was awarded an MBE in recognition of his dedication to beekeeping in the New Year honours. The group congratulated Charlie on this achievement. Some members of the SBA will be going to Apimondia this year in Montreal.

BFA – There has been a paper produced by the National Pollinator Strategy called Management and Drivers of Change of Pollinating Insects and Pollination Services which gives a list of papers at the end which is very interesting.

Margaret Ginman would like the thank Graeme Sharpe for his hard work on the Bee Farmers Day in Perth on the 7th March. There was a very good turnout. There was a good talk by Murray and Jolanta.

Young apprentices have been away to New Zealand on a six month placement to see how bee keeping is done there. The people who have finished their apprenticeships have been asked to go to other companies

SASA – British Bee Vet Association are holding a meeting at SASA on 2 October 2019. Topics and speakers to be decided. As Steve is leaving is it still worth doing the talks to local associations? This was discussed and it was decided that this fits with the HBHS education strand and there’s value in continuing. A list of SG/SRUC past talks and location may be useful.

SRUC – KITIF is budgeted to do another two courses.

Steve – This advisory group has come on leaps and bounds since 2008. Possibly at the Steering Group in November ask to rename this group officially as BHIP (Bee Health Improvement Partnership). Scotland still has bee health issues which need addressed, such as Nosema, the plateau of occurrences of EFB, and the lack of surveillance inspections in recent years so the group has achieved a good deal but has more they can do.

Thank you for all your support over the years and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dates and venue for remaining meeting

Future meetings will be held on:

  • BHIP – 7th May 2019 at Battleby
  • BHIP – 15th August 2019 at Battleby
  • Steering Group – 14 November 2019 at Battleby


Bees Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP)
c/o Scottish Government
Saughton House
EH11 3XD

Back to top