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Diagnostic Services Provided By SASA
During Covid-19 Crisis


Guidance From Scottish Bee Health Inspectorate

The Bee Health Teams of DEFRA, the Scottish and Welsh Governments have issued their advice and guidance for beekeeping in the UK given the current restrictions around COVID-19, which can be found by clicking here.

This guidance has been published on Beebase and if you are not already registered on Beebase it is a good idea to do so, not only will you receive notifications like this but also alerts if there is EFB or AFB within your area.

The Bee Disease and Pest Control (Scotland) Amendment Order 2021 making Varroa reportable in Scotland and which amends The Bees Diseases and Pest Control (Scotland) Order 2007 comes into force on 21st April 2021 (similar arrangements are in place for England and Wales). This legislation requires all beekeepers and officials in Great Britain to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage or inspect (in the case of bee inspectors) and will allow GB to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union and for GB beekeepers to continue to export honey queen bees to the EU and Northern Ireland.

In summary, you should continue to care and manage your honey bee stocks in the normal manner whilst observing the government’s guidance on COVID-19 and social distancing.

Should you have any queries or need anything please do not hesitate to contact us.

We hope you and your bees stay safe and well.



During the restrictions due to the control of Covid-19, many SASA staff will be working from home. The laboratory will therefore only be attended on an ‘on call’ basis to process urgent samples. Please do not send bee health samples directly to the lab unless instructed to by one of our team as they will not be sorted or processed. 

The Bee Health Improvement Team has put in place the following system to continue to support Scottish Beekeepers during this crisis. We thank you for your assistance and patience to help us manage our work safely whilst supporting the health of your bees.

During the current COVID-19 restrictions SASA will NOT be accepting any adult bee samples or samples for Varroa screening. Routine diagnosis will not resume until SASA staff are able to return to work for ‘normal duties’.

An online support system will be available for beekeepers wishing to report concerns of colony loss where they would normally send a sample of adult bees or debris to SASA for analysis – in the first instance they should email  including as much details as possible:
•   Contact details: name, phone, BeeBase ID, email & postal address
•   Details of operation: number of hives / apiaries 
•   Full description of symptoms
•   Digital photos (phone / camera ) if possible
•   Colony strength 
•   Management prior to the colony loss (or reported symptoms).

If you have a reason to suspect the presence of a notifiable disease or pest in your honey bee colonies, please contact the Bee Inspectorate at

The Bee Inspectors will discuss with you the symptoms and if Notifiable Disease is suspected we will either visit you or provide you with instructions for sampling. 

Thank you and please stay safe,
The Bee Health Improvement Team

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