A survey into bee health has highlighted that over three quarters of Scottish beekeepers lost at least one colony last winter. The survey, commissioned by the Scottish Government, was designed to assess the health status of honey bees in Scotland and gain a better understanding of how factors such as husbandry and disease affect them.
Key results of survey include:
- 39 per cent of beekeepers questioned lost at least one colony during winter 2011-12 and 79 per cent lost at least one colony during winter 2012-13
- Beekeepers identified weather, queen health, starvation and Varroa mites as the main risk factors
- The highest winter losses in 2012-13 were sustained in the Highlands; the lowest losses were in Tayside
- The average Scottish beekeeper has been beekeeping for less than 10 years, manages five or fewer colonies and produces 20-29lb of honey per colony annually
- Foulbrood disease and other notifiable pests were not found outwith known disease areas
- Varroa mites were present in all nine regions inspected, although smaller areas of Varroa freedom may still exist in parts of Scotland