Honey bee health: guidance

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


Bee inspections are carried out by bee inspectors, who are part of the Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (RPID).

The lead bee inspector has a role on policy as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Scottish Government and on delivery of inspections. The Honey Bee Health Inspectors can be contacted at: Bees_mailbox@gov.scot.

Any beekeepers who suspect the presence of a statutory bee disease or pest have a legal obligation to notify their local bee inspector. Our inspection staff will make contact with the beekeeper upon notification and arrangements will be made to visit the apiary.

Notifiable pests and diseases

Principally the bee inspectors are looking for notifiable pests or diseases. The notifiable diseases of bees in Scotland are European and American Foulbrood. Notifable pests are Tropilaelaps and the Small Hive Beetle. Information about these diseases and pests can be found on Bee Base.

In addition, Inspectors will also be alert in looking for the Asian Hornet. Whilst this is not a notifiable pest of bees it is a non-native species and subject to the powers and controls in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

At the apiary a thorough inspection will be made and samples may be taken for analysis at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), Edinburgh. Appropriate notices will be issued preventing removal of potentially contaminated material, such as hives, combs and bee products ,as well as lifting the Notices when safe to do so.

Bee Inspectors will also be responsible for carrying out recommendations from SASA in relation to treatment or destruction of hives contaminated with European foulbrood. They might also supervise the destruction of hives contaminated with foulbrood which cannot be treated and will make follow up inspections to ensure that the infection has been successfully dealt with.

Visit the Rural Payments and Services website to see the latest guidance on bee inspections.

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