Scotland’s Honey Bee Health Strategy: implementation plan

Details of the actions which the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) will deliver in order to achieve the desired outcomes for honey bee health in Scotland.

Additional issues and longer terms goals

The following points have been identified through BHIP discussions, the ‘future planning’ section of the review of the first strategy and the survey, but currently don’t fit into the specific areas identified above.

It is important that the following issues are kept ‘live’ and delivered when appropriate. The BHIP will, at their quarterly meetings, regularly review the following information and highlight, add or amend any specific issue(s) they wish to progress by creating a SMART action.

Action 1: availability and access of education

Objective 1.1:

  • promotion of the wide ranging education initiatives already available in Scotland including the BFA Apprenticeship Scheme and utilising skills which are obtainable from the SB

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 9 May 2023

  • SRUC has produced advice for bee related careers
  • NDB planning to run a ‘Train the Trainer’ course in autumn 2023

Objective 1.2:

  • explore the use of technology, e.g. online training material and presentations providing approved and trusted training to remote beekeeping communities and those who are not members of associations

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 9 May 2023

  • SRUC has provided on-line talks to four beekeeping associations and one on-line talk to animal care students. In addition, SRUC have completed an online webinar for the SBA and is planning to use SRUC’s zoom platform 

Objective 1.3:

  • promote different formats of ways to learn e.g:
    • bite-sized online training courses, classroom based, hive side training and mentoring 

    • pre-recorded demos/videos, live webinars

    • training at local associations (more tailored to specific environments)

    • partnership working with SBA on magentrix

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • work on the Magentrix system is progressing in the hope that it will be up and running within the next quarter
  • SRUC has developed educational resources in a variety of different formats including online talks, email advice, recommended video playlists and reading lists, pollen slide guides, Sway* information and links, a virtual classroom, and a podcast. In addition, SRUC are planning to produce educational videos through FAS TV

*Sway is an app from Microsoft Office that creates and shares interactive reports, personal stories, presentations, and more. 

Objective 1.4:

  • investigate development of educational training opportunities:
    • SQA Nat. 5/6 (delivers a practical science-based qualification, awareness of nature and understanding of food production) 

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • SRUC has met with the SQA to discuss the possibility of an National 6 qualification after the success and popularity of the National 5 award. In addition, SRUC suggests that bee health is added to the description of the qualification

Action 2: coordination of education/training/knowledge transfer

Objective 2.1:

  • standardisation of base level education programmes for the hobbyist sector (e.g. Varroa management)

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • work has commenced e.g. the training given to the Mull beekeepers association and additional work is being developed for the Varroa Working Group

Objective 2.2:

  • standardisation of base level education/training programmes for the commercial sector (e.g. EFB control plan/biosecurity/disease management)

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • training for the commercial beekeepers involved in the EFB control plan is being finalised, with an event planned for 11 May 2023

Objective 2.3:

  • R and D - communication on research findings, current developments e.g. via magazine contributions, blogs, web-pages, social media

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • SRUC has written and shared many articles, videos and blogs as well as a pod cast on preparing bees for winter. The specific SRUC beekeeping page can be found under SRUC’s Vet Services webpages

Action 3: sharing best practices/good communications

Objective 3.1:

  • registering on BeeBase and why that is such an important tool/highlight the importance of keeping information up-to-date/promote what information is available e.g. 
    • emerging threats

    • legal responsibilities

    • imports/exports

    • veterinary medicines issues

    • Food Standards Scotland issues 

    • how to correctly source stock

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • work continues on this. SRUC has highlighted that at every talk and event that they have given, they have issued registration forms

Objective 3.2:

  • utilise the SG Bee Health website and BeeBase effectively to ensure that Scottish interests are taken into account and easily identified 

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 9 May 2023

  • BeeBase has a new dedicated page for beekeepers in Scotland and work is underway to upload Scottish specific content
  • SBA and BFA continue to highlight BeeBase with their members

Objective 3.3:

  • developing communications and liaising with other interested parties (e.g. FSS, honey importers and packers), highlighting: 
    • the prevention of possible honey fraud and the safety and integrity of honey as a safe, natural product, free from pesticides, residues and additives

    • awareness for packing plants to present a minimal risk of spreading pests and diseases to local honey bee apiaries by compartmentalising production systems to keep apiary equipment separate and clean

Owner/lead: BHIP

Action 4: legislative issues

Objective 4.1:

  • compliance with the EU Animal Health Law (e.g. compulsory registration leading to better engagement with beekeepers, better management and control of pests/diseases) 

Owner/lead: policy, BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • SG policy continue actively taking forward fact-finding exercises to determine the best way forward (particularly in relation to compulsory registration)
  • during events and public talks, all group members should ensure that there are opportunities to discuss with beekeepers regarding the possibility of introducing compulsory registration of beekeepers and compulsory reporting of hive movements

Objective 4.2:

  • consideration with stakeholders to establish if there is a need or a will for enhanced regulation and enforcement (e.g. the introduction of Fixed Penalty Notices for those failing to report honey bee health notifiable diseases, breaking standstill orders after detection of disease or intentionally carrying out any other illegal activities which might pose a risk to bee health in Scotland)

Owner/lead: BHIP

Action 5: surveillance

Objective 5.1:

  • roll out an Annual Surveillance programme(s) (e.g. import/sentinel apiaries) potentially using self-inspections and posting of samples. This would complement the work of the official inspectorate and would ensure that Scotland does not lose the opportunity to reliably deliver the real health status of bees and beekeeping.

Owner/lead: BHIP

Objective 5.2:

  • surveillance of emerging threats for honey bee health such as Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

Owner/lead: BHIP, SRUC

Update: 9 May 2023

  • SRUC have commenced discussions with colleagues (SRUC vet pathologist and from Newcastle University) to discuss investigating Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

Action 6: contingency planning for current, new and emerging threats

Objective 6.1:

  • Asian Hornet (ensuring that a coordinated approach is taken with other Government departments and that additional resources are available if required)

Owner/lead: BHIP
Update: 14 February 2023

  • SG policy progressing with drafting Scotland’s Asian Hornet contingency plan with a view to having a final plan in place for the upcoming beekeeping season

Objective 6.2:

  • Small Hive Beetle (ensuring that a coordinated approach is taken with other Government departments and that additional resources are available if required) 

Owner/lead: BHIP



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