The Honey Bee Health Strategy

To achieve a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Scotland.

Section 2: Roles and Responsibilities of Stakeholders

This strategy requires all stakeholders to work together and recognise the common purpose of improving honey bee health and sustainability


24. Beekeepers are responsible for the health and welfare of their bees and for the management of pests and diseases. This responsibility of care should include, where appropriate:

(i) maintaining good husbandry and health practices to prevent and control the spread of pests and diseases and a thorough understanding that pests and diseases in their bees could spread to other apiaries nearby and/or further afield;

(ii) being vigilant, recognising pests and diseases, knowing which of these are notifiable; and in line with their legal obligations, reporting any suspicion of notifiable pests or diseases to their Bee Inspector/Government;

(iii) complying with legislation on controlling pests and diseases, including standstill notices and import requirements;

(iv) using medications and treatments appropriately, including responsible storage, safe administration and recording, with due regard for residue limits and withdrawal periods;

(v) ensuring that their knowledge skills and competence levels are maintained through training and education;

(vi) maintaining records on the movement and location of their colonies and making records available to their Bee Inspector on request;

(vii) seeking advice from their local beekeeping association to help discharge these responsibilities; and,

(viii) maintaining up-to-date information on BeeBase.

Beekeeping Associations

25. Beekeeping associations represent their members in discussion with other stakeholders, they provide services to their members and encourage co-operative actions between them. In the context of this strategy they will:

(i) support beekeepers through education, information and advice;

(ii) promote good beekeeping husbandry and practice;

(iii) encourage beekeepers to achieve higher standards of beekeeping, including disease recognition and management skills;

(iv) raise beekeepers' awareness of their legal obligations, including those relating to bee imports and requirements on responsible storage, safe administration and recording of bee medications and other treatments;

(v) encourage their members to sign up to BeeBase;

(vi) work with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to achieve common objectives; and,

(vii) encourage new members of the public to undertake appropriate training if they wish to become beekeepers.

Scottish Government, its Agencies and Delivery Bodies

26. The Scottish Government, its agencies and delivery bodies will work with Scottish beekeepers to achieve common objectives by:

(i) supporting beekeeping in recognition of the public and economic benefit of pollination by honey bees;

(ii) protecting and promoting the health of honey bees by setting strategic objectives on managing and protecting their health in consultation with other stakeholders;

(iii) working with stakeholders to achieve common aims, including effective communications with beekeepers;

(iv) working in liaison with other UK administrations and the EU to ensure that the development and implementation of policy frameworks, including regulations are being implemented in the most appropriate way to deliver strategic objectives and minimise the regulatory burden on beekeepers;

(v) using sound up-to-date science to underpin bee health policy, and influencing the prioritisation of research and development requirements;

(vi) supporting inspectors to carry out inspections where notifiable diseases are suspected;

(vii) contributing to the management of BeeBase and seeking to increase the numbers of beekeepers registered;

(viii) delivering policies that have due regard for the long-term genetic health of honey bees in Scotland and the economic and biodiversity benefits of a healthy bee population;

(ix) providing quality-assured diagnoses of pests and diseases;

(x) providing and maintaining contingency plans for outbreaks of exotic pests, diseases and undesirable species; and,

(xi) supporting good practice through training, education and knowledge transfer programmes co-ordinated with national and local associations aimed at helping beekeepers to become more self-reliant in controlling pests and disease and to aspire to higher standards of beekeeping.

Other Contributors

27. The science and research community, based at UK universities and institutes, helps improve the science and evidence base through research and analysis.

28. Honey importers and packers should recognise the potential risks of spreading infection from their packing plants to local apiaries and be responsible for taking appropriate steps to prevent honey bees from accessing equipment at packing plants.

29. Individual companies and representative bodies of medicine manufacturers, hive and appliance manufacturers and other suppliers will recognise the importance of keeping up-to-date with developments in bee health and ensure that beekeepers are given advice on using their products safely and effectively.

30. Responsible sourcing, selling and movement of bees and equipment, particularly second hand equipment is key; safeguarding against pests and diseases is the responsibility of all stakeholders.

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