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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.

Register and keep apiaries up to date in BeeBase

Dear all,

Scottish Government bee inspectors are currently following up several localised foulbrood outbreaks across Scotland and we would like to remind you all of the importance of registering and keeping apiary locations up to date in BeeBase to assist us with controlling disease.

Registration in BeeBase is currently voluntary; however, it is the best available tool we have for identifying hives and apiaries which might have been in contact with foulbrood disease.

Whilst the majority of beekeepers are registered and keep their records up to date in BeeBase, there are still some beekeepers who are not doing so. Registration in BeeBase is free, quick and easy, and please let me assure you that is secure.

Being able to identify all contact colonies is vitally important for any disease control effort. BeeBase identifies all registered beekeepers and apiaries within a radius of a positive case of foulbrood and sends an alert email to those within 3km.

Those within 3km of a positive apiary will receive, as soon as possible, an inspection by the bee inspectors. This is because the risk of their bees having been in contact with infected colonies is inversely proportional to the distance to the infected apiaries, i.e. the closer your apiary is to an infected site, the higher the possibility of contact, for example, through swarm collection or robbing weak infected colonies.

If beekeepers are not registered in BeeBase, or their apiary locations are not up to date, we are unable to identify them as at risk and they might remain infected as a point of permanent re-infection for all beekeepers in that area. Time may also be lost trying to arrange inspections for apiaries which are no longer active, putting extra strain on our limited resources.

Therefore please could we ask you that you:

• Register in BeeBase if not currently registered.

• De-register from BeeBase when you stop beekeeping.

• Keep your current apiary locations up to date.

• Mark as non-current those apiaries which you no longer use.

• Keep your number of hives as up to date as possible for each apiary.

And of course, if at any time you suspect any signs of notifiable disease, please contact us at

From the Bee Health Improvement Team we would like to thank you for your cooperation and playing your part in keeping Scotland’s bees free of notifiable diseases and pests.

Together we can make a difference!

Best Regards,
Luis Molero Lopez.
Lead Bee Inspector for the Scottish Government.

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