Importing bees into Scotland: guidance

Guidance on the requirements that apply to imports of bees into Scotland.

Import controls

The aim of the legislation is to prevent the introduction and spread of bee pests and diseases, particularly the Small hive beetle. If you are importing bees, whether for your own use or to sell on, it is important that you comply with all the import conditions in order to protect the health of honey bees in the UK.

The key requirements for imports from EU member states and the rest of the world are:

1. You must notify all imports in advance via the IPAFFS system. Information about the system and details regarding how to register are available.

2. You must ensure that consignments from EU member states and the rest of the world are accompanied by a health certificate which has been obtained from the relevant competent authority;

3. Imports from countries other than EU member states must enter via a border control point. Imports from EU member states will be checked at destination on a risk basis until the end of the beekeeping season. We will update this guidance shortly to advise of the position from 1 January 2024.

4. You cannot import packages or colonies of bees from any country other than New Zealand.

5. Only queen honey bees accompanied with up to 20 attendants can be imported into GB from the EU and any other third country, except New Zealand.

On destination, the imported queen will need to be decanted and the Queen cages and attendants on which the bees were imported will need to be sent for inspection to:


Bee Health – Imports

Roddinglaw Road


EH12 9FJ

Packing precautions

Prior to sending queen cages, attendant bees and other material for examination, please ensure all material is contained within a sealable plastic bag and (where possible) store in a freezer overnight, or until ready to post. Please retain the material in this sealed bag, package it securely in a rigid box, and send to SASA along with your contact details and the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) reference number (found on part I of the CHED form).

6. You must comply with the post-import controls applying to consignments imported from all countries.

7. In addition, we would strongly encourage you to keep records of beekeepers to whom you have sold any imported bees. This will enable beekeepers to be contacted quickly by the Scottish Government (SG) in the event of any notifiable pests and diseases being found in the imported consignment.

8. Please note that you must satisfy yourself that consignments are imported in accordance with all the relevant legislative conditions. Failure to comply with the requirements laid down in the Trade in Animals and Related Products (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (as amended) and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Scotland) Order 2007 (as amended) may lead to your consignment being destroyed and to potential prosecution.

9. If you have any queries about the import requirements for honey bees, please contact the Bees Mailbox at   

Back to top