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Publication - Advice and guidance

Honey bee health: guidance

Published: 15 Nov 2019

Guidance on policy, pests, legislation and inspection relating to bees in Scotland.

Honey bee health: guidance


The Scottish Government is responsible for bee health policy in Scotland and the legislative control for the health of managed honey bees.

In Scotland there are currently around 1,400 hobby beekeepers who are members of the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA), with an estimated further 1,000 hobbyists who are not. There are also around 25 commercial bee farmers who are members of the Bee Farmers Association (BFA)  whose businesses depend on the management of healthy honey bees.

All beekeepers have a significant role to play in ensuring disease management and control measures within their own apiaries are in order and have a legal obligation to report any suspicion of a notifiable disease or pest to us by emailing

There is a range of information available to beekeepers on the National Bee Unit (NBU) website BeeBase.

Beekeepers are encouraged to register on BeeBase which gives information to help those with an interest in honeybee health to keep their bees healthy.

BeeBase is also our best tool for disease control as it allows us to know the location of all registered apiaries,therefore,making possible identification of possible contacts with the disease. Registered Beekeepers get notifications automatically by email if disease is found within a 3km radius of their apiaries so they can increase their health monitoring.

Strengthened partnership working between government departments, beekeeping associations and individual beekeepers is essential if opportunities are to be taken and current and emerging threats to bee health are to be addressed. The Scottish Bee Inspectorate works closely with colleagues in the NBU.  We take biosecurity and any threat to the sustainability of the apiculture sector very seriously.

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) provides a free diagnostic service to beekeepers to identify and confirm the presence of bee diseases and pests with a rapid turnaround time. 

Bee health awareness days

We run Bee Health Awareness days each year. We are running bee health days in May 2020, location and booking details will be confirmed. For further information please contact the Beesmailbox at






16 May 2020

Bee Health Awareness Day


To be confirmed

30 May 2020

Bee Health Awareness Day


To be confirmed