The Honey Bee Health Strategy 2022 - 2032

The main aim of the strategy is “Working in partnership to achieve a healthy and sustainable population of honey bees in Scotland”.

A Strategic Approach to Implementation

Scottish Government has worked with the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP)[1] on the development of the new 2022-2032 Honey Bee Health Strategy to address issues as they are identified and continue to protect and improve the health of honey bees in Scotland.

The main aim of the new strategy will be: "Working in partnership to achieve a healthy and sustainable population of honey bees in Scotland"

This new strategy will follow on from the excellent work carried out by the BHIP during the implementation of Scotland's first 10-year Honey Bee Health Strategy. The original Strategy, introduced in June 2010, had the primary aim "to achieve a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Scotland through strengthened partnership working between stakeholders with interests in honey bees".

As part of the first strategy we saw the creation of the BHIP which is formed by representatives from:

  • The Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA)
  • The Bee Farmers Association (BFA)
  • National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB)
  • Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
  • NatureScot
  • SASA - Scottish Government
  • Scottish Government's Animal Health and Welfare Division's Bee Health Team (which chairs the group)

The BHIP is a forum to allow Scottish Government Officials and stakeholders to discuss, consult and interact on challenges, policies and strategies affecting honey bees and the Scottish beekeeping sector, both from a hobby and commercial perspective. Their main role is to implement and monitor progress on the actions of the honey bee health strategy. The group meet on a quarterly basis and any Scottish beekeepers can raise issues via their preferred organisations for discussion at these meetings.

The initial Strategy, in conjunction with the review (published October 2021)[2]has provided an extremely strong foundation on which to build upon over the next 10 years. The Review detailed the progress made and identified a number of areas which could be further developed. Those suggestions, along with responses to a Scottish Government led survey[3]which gathered views from those with an interest in honey bees (published 30 March 2022) have been key to identifying the areas of focus to best continue supporting Scotland's honey bees in future years.

Whilst many of the issues identified in the 2010 strategy continue to pose a challenge, new challenges and threats have emerged. Adapting the key pillars of the original framework, the partnership aims to progress to meet old and new challenges alike, which are further developed within this new Strategy.

The BHIP acknowledges that challenges to honey bee health are rapidly evolving. It is for this reason that it has been agreed that our strategy will simply outline the pillars and ways of working on which we will base our actions over the next 10 years.

To allow the required flexibility and adaptability to new challenges, the work will once again be taken forward by the BHIP through the "Honey Bee Health Strategy 2022-32: Implementation Plan". This Plan will be a living document which details specific actions to be delivered in order to achieve the desired outcomes for Honey Bee Health in Scotland.

The implementation plan will:

  • Focus on the main aim of the Strategy: "Working in partnership to achieve a healthy and sustainable population of honey bees in Scotland".
  • Identify key challenges, objectives and actions required to enable continued improvements to honey bee health in Scotland.
  • Assign ownership and regularly reflect the prioritisation of identified actions.

The BHIP will:

  • Monitor, review and report the progress of key objectives at quarterly meetings. The Implementation Plan will be updated and published on the Scottish Government website following each meeting.
  • Ensure that governance and accountability is maintained by continuing to report annually to the Honey Bee Health Strategy Steering Group on the progress of the specific aims of the Honey Bee Health Strategy.
  • Recognise that priorities and plans can quickly change and will be committed to ensuring that the actions of the Implementation Plan are regularly reviewed to ensure that expectations are effectively managed.

Actions identified in the Implementation Plan will be based on the following 5 pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Education, Training and Knowledge Transfer. The BHIP will work on improving the level of education and knowledge of the Scottish Beekeeping community on all issues relating to honey bees.
  • Pillar 2: Communication and partnership working across government, operational partners, stakeholders and all of those with an interest in honey bees in Scotland. The BHIP will ensure regular and effective communication between all parties through the quarterly meetings of the BHIP. Key issues will be identified, communicated to the beekeeping community as and when required using the most efficient communication strategies.
  • Pillar 3: Pest and Disease surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, and control. The BHIP will work in partnership on the development and implementation of effective strategies for surveillance, prevention, diagnosis and control of honey bee pests and diseases. The BHIP will continue to promote effective biosecurity and good standards of husbandry.
  • Pillar 4: Research and Development: The BHIP will ensure that decisions, bee health policy, disease prevention and control strategies are underpinned by sound science and evidence. The BHIP will seek to identify areas requiring further research and development, working in partnership with the scientific and beekeeping communities and commission/recommend research which could make a positive impact on bee health in Scotland.
  • Pillar 5: On-going review of the regulatory framework: The BHIP will work in partnership with the Scottish Government to ensure that the legislative framework and enforcement powers are adequate for the achievement of the objectives of the honey bee health strategy.

The BHIP shall ensure that views of those with an interest in the health of Scotland's honey bees are taken into account when developing future work, for example in relation to pollination, biodiversity, interaction of honey bees with other pollinators, contingency planning for the possible arrival of non-native species, food safety controls, veterinary medicine controls and pesticide use. Whilst some of these areas are outwith the scope of the SG honey bee health policy team, SG representatives of the BHIP will liaise with relevant lead departments to ensure a co-ordinated approach to cross-cutting policies where possible.

The Scottish Government will also maintain effective communication and co-operation with the other UK administrations and APHA's National Bee Unit (NBU). This will be crucial to ensure good biosecurity across the whole of the UK.

Bee Health Improvement Partnership

June 2022



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