Bee Health Improvement Partnership minutes: May 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) on 9 May 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Steve Sunderland, SG Lead Bee Inspector (Chair)
  • Fiona Highet, SG-SASA Entomology Manager
  • Graeme Sharpe, SRUC Apiculture Specialist
  • Gavin Ramsay, SBA Bee Health Convener
  • Bron Wright, SBA Past President
  • Margaret Thomas, BFA Representative
  • Margaret Ginman, BFA General Secretary
  • Phil McAnespie, SBA Vice President
  • Jackie Quigley, SG Secretariat


  • Alan Riach, SBA 
  • Murray McGregor, BFA

Items and actions

Item 1: Welcome and apologies

1.1 Steve welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked Graeme for hosting at Auchincruive.

1.2 Apologies received from Alan Riach and Murray McGregor.

1.3 Vicky O’Donnell officially retires at the end of May 2018 and Steve thanked her for all her support.

Item 2: Minutes and Actions Points (13 March 2018)

2.1 The minutes of the BHIP group meeting of 13 March 2018 were agreed.

Items 3: Ian Craig MBE

3.1 Steve and Fiona attended Ian’s memorial service which was very well attended. Steve also sent a letter of condolence to Mrs Craig. Ian will be sadly missed by everyone.

Item 4: Update on 2018 Inspection Programme

4.1 There have been two imports so far one from Poland and the other from Italy. Another one from Poland and another two from Italy are scheduled for 2018

4.2 The Polish imports are for use on the importers own apiaries. They have help from a commercial beekeeper

4.3 Italian imports have a very similar inspection protocol as in previous years

4.4 There have been two EFB cases confirmed to date. These are a continuation of last year’s outbreaks. Both hives affected were culled.

4.5 Inspection programmes look the same as last year. Steve will only have two inspectors helping him.

4.6 We have training days arranged for 23 and 24 May for inspectors but unsure if these will go ahead.

4.7 The surveillance survey has been put on hold at the moment pending resource commitment.

4.8 The bee inspectors tend to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so that they can get home for the weekends and have some time in the office.

4.9 Senior managers are expressing interest in observing bee inspections and these are being scheduled for July probably.

Item 5: Updates


5.1 They have been asking people to download the “Starting with Bees” booklet. They have 19 beginners at Ayr Beekeeping Association who have been attending their courses.

5.2 South of Scotland Beekeepers in Dumfries has received money from the Big Lottery Fund/People’s Project.

5.3 Bee Buddies in Methil have also received funding from the Big Lottery Fund/People’s Project.

5.4 There is a Beeday at Kelvingrove.

5.5 Getting prepared for the Royal Highland Show.


Margaret Ginman reported:

5.6 Went to Denmark with the Bee Farmers visit. There will be an article in the next Bee Farmer magazine.

5.7 There was also an article in the Bee Farmer's magazine regarding the stolen hives that were mentioned at the last meeting;.

5.8 Has attended lots of meetings for The Future of Farming. The consultation for this closed on the 8 May.

5.9 Ben Bradley MP has launched a 10 minute rule bill to save Britain’s Bees. The Protection of Pollinators Bill asks DEFRA to support bees and other insects by protecting their habitat and supporting the creation of “pollinator corridors”.


Graeme Sharpe reported:

5.10 There have been updates on colony losses reported particularly on the West Coast

5.11 Thought the colonies would pull through this year but due to the bad weather in March/April this didn’t happen and frequent reports of losses between 30-35%.

5.11 Graeme is meeting with Alex Ellis from the BFA.

5.12 Still doing lots of talks with the associations.

5.13 Going to Arran with PhD Student from St. Andrews to check the hives for Varroa.

5.14 Will again be attending the RHS this year.

5.15 Training days at Auchencruive scheduled in line with agreed programme.

The Scottish Native Honey Bee Society (SNHBS)

Gavin Ramsay reported:

5.16 A good end encouraging turnout to the annual meeting in Kinross on 17 March with 61 attending despite travel difficulties due to the wintry weather. Dr Per Kryger from Aarhus University reported on how the Danish Government is trying to save their native bees. After three years they have now got a plan they are happy with.

5.17 Scottish beekeepers are to be surveyed regarding the types of bees around the country and encouraging a select group of beekeepers to breed the Queens.

Item 6: Update Bee Health Days

6.1 There are 21 registered at the moment to attend the BHD in Dumfries on the 19 May and there have been 12 signed up so far for Tarland.

6.2 The young people selected to represent Scotland at the 2018 International Meeting of Young Beekeepers may attend Tarland or Dumfries but are managing a busy exam schedule just now.

6.3 The programme will be the same as last year or can be tweaked if needs be.

6.4 Asian Hornet will be included more this year. Lab session 2 has been changed to Asian Hornet and non-notifiable.

Item 7: Royal Highland Show

7.1 SG will have a team in the honey tent for the four days.

7.2 SASA have commissioned wicker model Asian Hornet and possibly a honey bee which will be on show in the tent. SASA would be grateful for any donations of money towards this if possible.

7.3 SBA is hoping that Debbie Maxwell from York University will come to the RHS and do a talk on bees.

Item 8: Knowledge Transfer Innovative Fund (KTIF) and Bee Farmers  

8.1 SRUC will be meeting with Alex Ellis to discuss this.

Item 9: Inspectorate Resources

9.1 This has been covered in item 4.

Item 10: IMYB in France

10.1 Report to be forwarded from Bron. 

Item 11: AOCB

11.1 An Asian Hornet had been sighted in Lancashire and investigations are underway.

11.2 SASA will not be sending out Asian Hornet traps this year but will review this and the Sentinel apiary programme.

11.3 Check sheds and garages etc. for Asian Hornet primary nests rather than just tall trees given the experience in Jersey.

Item 12: Date and Venue of next meeting

12.1 Next meeting will be 15 August 2018 held at Battleby.

Bee Health Improvement Partnership minutes: May 2018
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