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.


Interaction of honey bees with the environment and other pollinators

Introduction:  Emerging scientific evidence indicates that managed pollinators, even when native as honey bees are in Scotland, could potentially have a detrimental effect on wild pollinators and fragile ecosystems.  The circumstances under which conflict between managed pollinators and wild pollinators occurs are often complex and difficult to unravel. It is therefore important to understand the potential risks posed by competition, changes in plant communities and disease cross-transmission resulting from use of managed honey bees and pollinators (bumble bees) under Scottish conditions; however relevant scientific evidence is not currently widely available. Research, education and open dialogue with all involved will be key to fully understanding and mitigating these risks.

It is key that beekeepers are provided with the appropriate education to ensure awareness of these potential issues and, whilst the evidence base remains limited, understand the importance of maintaining sustainable levels of healthy honey bees as this not only benefits their bees but potentially also mitigates the risk to wild populations. The BHIP will continue to strengthen partnership working with other interested parties in order to promote good beekeeping practices, increase honey bee health (and therefore minimise potential risk of disease overspill) and maintain the reputation of beekeeping in Scotland as a sustainable and environmentally positive practice.

Action (SMART)

 

Owner

Priority

Update (to be advised at quarterly BHIP)

1. Education

 

 

 

  • Encourage promotion and engagement with NatureScot and their Pollinator Strategy through established programme of talks / introduction of blogs, magazine articles

All

 

 

2. Interaction and cooperation with other areas

 

 

 

  • Promotion of related issues such as biodiversity / the interaction of managed honey bees with other pollinators / land use / climate change / plant health / wildlife issues

Jim Jeffrey

All

 

 

 

  • Widely promoting information to interested / relevant partners / general public / land owners / farmers / councils, for example on:
  • impact of pesticides
  • impact on the loss of local biodiversity and climate change
  • encourage Councils to grow more wildflowers and encourage naturalisation by leaving verges to grow and not cutting the grass short by roadsides and parks.
  • monitoring of the density of hives/colonies to ensure there is not over-crowding in certain areas

Jim Jeffrey

All

 

 

Additional issues and longer term goals

The following points have been identified through BHIP discussions, the ‘future planning’ section of the review of the 1st 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.

Additional issues and longer term goals

Lead

Suggested way forward

 

 

 

1. Availability and access of education

 

 

 

Promotion of the wide ranging education initiatives already available in Scotland including the BFA Apprenticeship Scheme and utilising skills which are obtainable from the SBA.

BHIP

 

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.

BHIP

 

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

BHIP

 

 

Investigate development of educational training opportunities

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

BHIP

 

 

2. Co-ordination of education / training / knowledge transfer

 

 

 

Standardisation of base level education programmes for the hobbyist sector (e.g. Varroa Management)

BHIP

 

Standardisation of base level education / training programmes for the commercial sector (e.g. EFB Control Plan / Biosecurity / Disease Management)

BHIP

 

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

 

BHIP

 

 

3. Sharing Best Practices / good communications

 

 

 

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

BHIP

 

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

BHIP

 

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.

BHIP

 

 

4. Legislative Issues

 

 

 

Compliance with the EU Animal Health Law:

(e.g. compulsory registration leading to  better engagement with beekeepers,  better management and control of pests/diseases)

BHIP

 

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.

BHIP

 

 

5. Surveillance:

 

 

 

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.

BHIP

 

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

BHIP

 

 

6. Contingency Planning for current, new and emerging threats

 

 

 

Asian Hornet

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

BHIP

 

Small Hive Beetle

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

BHIP

 

 

Contact

Email: Bees_mailbox@gov.scot

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