Please Note: The Hive Count runs annually from 1st November - 31st December; the links below are only active during a live hive count period.
The National Bee Unit needs YOU to update your records!
The National Bee Unit and and the Scottish Bee Health Team are again asking beekeepers to take part in the National Hive Count and update BeeBase your colony numbers. Over 11,000 beekeepers completed the Hive Count in 2022!! This information is vital for our planning and preparation for outbreaks of disease or exotic pests. It is very important, for example, that we do all we can to keep levels of foulbrood to a minimum. Knowing the number and location of beekeepers, hives and apiaries helps to inform where Bee Inspectors should be deployed. This applies in relation to familiar pests and diseases and to more recent threats such as the damaging invasive species Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).
We will also use the figures we have on BeeBase to monitor honey bee populations over time. Having up to date records that reflect the current position in each year is vital and allows us to monitor changes over time. For this, it is important we ask all beekeepers to notify us of the number of hives owned on 1st November 2023. Using this date helps us to ensure consistency across the country by reflecting the national position at a single point in time. If you had no colonies at that date, it is important to update your BeeBase record to confirm this. Please provide this information by 31st December 2023.
Your username is required to log in – please note that this is not the same as your e-mail address.
Telephone: 0300 3030094
Scottish Beekeepers: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
Please be aware that we will be dealing with an exceptionally large volume of calls and enquiries from beekeepers. However, we aim to respond to your enquiry within 5 working days.
Having a greater knowledge of the number of bee hives in the UK forms part of initiatives through which the government has committed to taking action to improve the health of our pollinators. By working together, we can ensure a thriving and sustainable pollinator population. Our initiatives are set out in:
- The National Pollinator Strategy;
- The Healthy Bees Plan;
- The Action Plan for Pollinators (Wales);
- Honey Bee Health Strategy for Scotland;
- Pollinator Strategy for Scotland;
- Strategy for the Sustainability of the Honey Bee (Northern Ireland).
2022's count indicated a total UK population of honey bee hives of approximately 288,000. As this figure has been collected annually for the past 4 years this is now considered to be an ‘official statistic’. Comments and changes have been considered during the experimental phase and we are content that the methodology and presentation are suitable and of good quality. We can still accept feedback and make amendments if required.
We thank you in advance for your assistance in this project.
National Bee Unit & the Scottish Bee Health Team
2018 - 244,000
2019 - 264,000
2020 - 260,000
2021 - 272,631