Record Keeping

The importance of record keeping

An important part of successful beekeeping is the keeping of accurate records. It allows you to know what is, and has been, going on inside your hives which in time should provide useful data that will help you manage your stocks more effectively. From your records you should be able to tell what has been done during any manipulations of the colony, what needs to be done and what did and didn’t work.

Your records will also be useful during inspection by the regional bee inspector or for submitting to authorities should you have any notifiable diseases.

There is lots of different ways to record the information gather from a Hive, but at a minimum, the records should contain the following REDDS information:-

  1. R - Room: Does the queen have enough room to lay? Do the workers have enough room to store nectar and pollen?

  2. E - Eggs: Is the queen present and laying? Are there eggs and/or have you seen the queen?

  3. D - Development: Is the colony building up as expected? Are there queen cells?

  4. D - Disease: Are the bees healthy? Do they have noticeable mite loads? Any sign of foul brood, chalk brood, DWV, etc.?

  5. S - Stores: Does the colony have enough stores until the next inspection?

The form below is an example Hive Record Sheet produced by the British Beekeepers Association:-

Use of Veterinary Medicines

Beekeepers must keep documentation containing details of veterinary medicine products that they have used in colonies for at least five years, even if the colony is no longer in that keeper’s possession or has died during that period. This is a legal requirement and failure to do so can result in a fine.

When a veterinary medicinal product is bought beekeepers must, at the time, record:-

  1. The name of the product and the batch number

  2. The date of acquisition

  3. The quantity acquired

  4. The name and address of the supplier.

When using the medicine, Beekeepers must record on a medicine record card of:-

  1. The name of the product

  2. The date of use

  3. The quantity administered

  4. The withdrawal period

  5. The identification of the animals treated

A Beekeeper who disposes of any or the entire veterinary medicine product instead of using to treat a colony must record:-

  1. The date of disposal

  2. The quantity of product involved

  3. How and where it was disposed of

It is good practice to use the following DEFRA Record Sheet to record this information:-

Beekeeping and Poisoning

In the course of Beekeeping, the use of Veterinary medicines exposes the Beekeeper to the risk of accidental poisoning.

Before any Veterinary Medicine is used, the full instructions should be read and a risk assessment should be created and followed. Your Local Beekeeping Association will be able to provide you with advice and training in the use of all treatments.

For general advice regarding the risks involved you can contact your GP or telephone NHS 111 (England) or NHS 24 (Scotland) on 111.

In Wales you can contact NHS Direct (Wales) on 111 - (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend). If you are outside this area, please call 0845 46 47.

In an emergency, if you are concerned someone has been poisoned or if a person has collapsed or is not breathing properly, call 999.


BeeBase is the Animal and Plant Health Agency's (APHA) National Bee Unit website. It is designed for beekeepers and supports Defra, Welsh Government and Scotland's Bee Health Programmes.

The website provides a wide range of information for Beekeepers, to help keep their colonies healthy and productive. It provides a wide range of beekeeping information, such as the activities of the NBU, Bee related legislation, pests and diseases information which includes their recognition and control, publications, advisory leaflets and key contacts.

It is good practice for all Beekeepers within Scotland to be registered with BeeBase. Registration allows access to the Local Bee Inspector in terms of advice and assistance, as well as the reporting of Disease. BeeBase also allows you to be notified of any local outbreaks of Notifiable Diseases.

To access BeeBase, click on the image below:-


BeeConnected is a simple, web-based system that can be used via a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. It is used by farmers to inform local Beekeepers that they are going to be using an Insecticide on their fields.

Farmers can register on the system and then identify a field they are planning to spray with an insecticide by dropping a pin in the on-screen map.Then, using the drop down menus, they simply enter the insecticide they will be using, the crop they are spraying, and the date they are spraying, and a basic notification will be sent out to neighbouring beekeepers registered on the system.

Beekeepers can register on the system and simply map the location of their bee hives by dropping a pin in the on-screen map. They will then receive a notification by email when a spray event is due to take place within the vicinity of a hive. Beekeepers will be able to decide how close a spray event has to be to them before they are notified, up to a maximum of 5km. It is then up to the beekeeper to decide what action to take, if any.

To access BeeConnected, click on the image below:-