Honey bees: inspection to control notifiable pests and diseases

Information for beekeepers about inspections the Animal and Plant Health Agency carries out on colonies, veterinary medicine records and honey samples.

Who gets inspected

Anyone who registers with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) can be inspected. APHA inspects registered colonies within 5km of a particular type of disease outbreak. Registration is voluntary.

What gets inspected

APHA visually inspects the colony. APHA also conducts inspections for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) by checking the veterinary medicine records and taking a honey sample.

Find out how to protect your bees from pests and diseases.

Time and length

Inspections happen from the beginning of April to the end of September.

Inspections take from 4 hours to 1 day.

What happens next

If any disease is found after a visual inspection you’ll be served with a notice to treat or destroy the colony. You must do this under the supervision of an inspector.

Honey samples are tested by APHA who send the results to you and VMD. If anything non-compliant is found and then confirmed by a second analysis, it’s referred to Defra Investigations Services (DIS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

FSA might take action if there’s a food safety issue.

Published 12 January 2016