Bee Health Report published

Asian Hornet by Aime Martin via Canva
Alan Robertson

Members of the public are being urged to notify experts if they think they see a non-native hornet species.

Yellow-legged Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) are a non-native invasive species which are aggressive predators of several species, including honey bees and other pollinators.

Plans for dealing with sightings of the hornet – native to  Northern India, China, the Indo-Chinese peninsula and the Indonesian archipelago – are included in the first annual report of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP).  The BHIP was established in 2010 as part of Scotland's first 10-year Honey Bee Health Strategy as a forum to allow Scottish Government Officials and stakeholders to discuss challenges affecting honey bees and the Scottish beekeeping sector.

The purpose of the report is to outline and reflect on the progress made by the BHIP during the first full year of its second Strategy, the aim of which is to work in partnership to achieve a healthy and sustainable population of honey bees in Scotland.

The Report also showed positive steps in tracking cases of Varroa mites which pose the biggest threat to honey bee colonies in Scotland.

A map showing the spread of the parasite, and highlighting areas where the mite has not been reported,  such as the islands of Colonsay and Oronsay, which are nature reserves for Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm, Black Bee), was shared with beekeepers across the country to highlight where particular care is needed in order to prevent spread of the parasite into these areas.

Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie said:

“I am delighted to see the progress made by the Bee Health Improvement Partnership to help deliver our second 10-year Scottish Government Honey Bee Health Strategy. 

“By developing a Contingency Plan to address any Asian hornet incursion in Scotland, we are well prepared to tackle and eradicate the insect before it has an opportunity to establish.

"We cannot underestimate the devastating impact this non-native predator has on honey bees and other insects, including important pollinators, and I urge people to be aware of what to look for and report any potential sightings.”


While there has been no confirmed Asian hornet sighting in Scotland, last year saw a significant increase in England, including as far north as Yorkshire.

The Asian Hornet Contingency Plan will ensure that any incursion is dealt with swiftly by Scottish Government Honey Bee Inspectors who would confirm the sighting and then take steps to find, destroy and remove nests.

Members of the public can report suspect sightings of Asian hornets to the Great British Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS), which has responsibility for helping to coordinate the approach to invasive non-native species in Great Britain. Sightings should be reported through the free Asian Hornet Watch App, available for Android and iPhone

Other methods of reporting the hornet also include using the NNSS online notification form or emailing with the location of the sighting and a description of the insect seen and a photograph if it is safe to take.

Asian hornet Contingency Plan

Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) report