Publication - Advice and guidance

Honey bee health: guidance

Published: 15 Feb 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 along with 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. In addition there are around 25 commercial bee farmers who are members of the Bee Farmers Association (BFA) and whose businesses depend on the management of healthy honey bees.

All beekeepers have a significant role to play in ensuring disease management and control within their own apiaries are in order and have a legal obligation to report any suspicion of a notifiable disease or pest to the Bee Inspector at their local Scottish Government Rural Payments Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) area office.

There is already a comprehensive range of information available to beekeepers, particularly on the National Bee Unit (NBU) website BeeBase. Beekeepers are actively encouraged to register onto the system and take advantage of the pages which are designed to help those with an interest in honeybee health and to keep their bees healthy.

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 SG takes very seriously any biosecurity threat to the sustainability of the apiculture sector and is working closely with colleagues in the NBU.

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) provides a free diagnostic service to beekeepers to identify and confirm the presence of notifiable and other bee diseases and pests. SASA staff have further developed and enhanced their capacity to carry out bee disease diagnostics and are working closely with their counterparts at the NBU in York.

Bee health awareness days

We run bee health awareness days each year.





18 May 2019

Bee Health Awareness Day

Kelso High School, Angraflat Road, Kelso, TD5 7NL


1 June 2019

Bee Health Awareness Day

Dunblane Cathedral Halls, The Cross, Dunblane FK15 0AQ