Committed to helping bees thrive

Current Bee Count: 7,647,819

Our farmers

Say hello to the people that care for our bees

John Hoskin – Fife

What got you into bee farming?
Involvement into bee farming for me was a natural evolution from the larger hobbyist to the professional way of managing honeybees, still maintaining that quality of product our customers demand but in larger quantities.

Why do you believe in growing Scotland’s bee population?
Beekeepers are faced with a totally different set of challenges today, than I was when I began keeping bees 42 years ago.  Bees have to be effectively managed to grow Scotland’s bee population, threats are coming from exotic pests & pathogens.  Scotland simply doesn’t have enough honeybees to  pollinate it’s vast diversity of crops & flora.

Why is your particular region good for supporting the bee population?
Many of our colonies are placed within range of large expanses of oilseed rape which allows for the building of new comb & an early crop, stands of lime trees & wild flowers add to the summer surplus, our main Heather apiary is only 40 miles to the north giving our bees the opportunity to gather a crop of delicious Ling honey.

What conditions make for happy bees?
“Healthy bees are happy bees”, good comb, young vigorous queens, sunny sultry days and of course plenty of nectar.

What is your favourite thing to put your honey on?
Nothing tastes better than pure local honey on a fresh fruit scone, the only exception is heather comb honey, which is best enjoyed in small spoonfuls.

Ewan Campbell – Aberdeenshire

What got you into bee farming?

I am a bee health researcher at the University of Aberdeen and since I work a lot with beekeepers on control of bee disease I figured I should get my hands dirty and try to understand the technical and practical challenges of beekeeping. I started with a few hives in the garden and that has grown and grown. Balancing a medium scale bee enterprise with lecturing and research is difficult but very rewarding.

Why do you believe in growing Scotland’s bee population?

The managed honey bee population in the UK is not under any great decline but rather our demand for managed pollination services is increasing. This is a lot to do with changes in agricultural practices and pollinator dependent crops but also due to a very real decline in wild pollinators such as solitary bees, bumblebees and flies. So we require managed honey bees to fulfil that lost pollinator role. Of course it would be great to see those insects bounce back, but in the meantime we can’t really move flies around the country to pollinate fruit and veg so it’s important that we increase our managed honey bees in a sustainable manner. It should be possible. Bee farming is crying out for new entrants into the industry and Scotland has an abundance of forage for bees coupled with a healthy demand for local specialist honeys, such as ling and bell heather.

Why is your particular region good for supporting the bee population?

Aberdeenshire is historically known for its beekeeping. The weather can prove tricky for bees up here with late or early winters common but most years the bees can rely on an abundance of food from wild trees such as sycamore, willow, chesnut and hazel alongside cultivated crops like oil seed rape, raspberry and currants. Of course there are extensive and ancient heather moors in the Grampians for the bees in late summer.

What conditions make for happy bees?

Good beekeeping ! It’s vital to have healthy bees free from disease and nowadays this is totally dependent on the beekeeper. The varroa mite arrived in the UK in the early 90s and since then most of our wild colonies of honey bees have disappeared from the forests as these unmanaged colonies have no natural defence against these invasive pests. Much of what is vital for human health is vital for bee health – a balanced diet and a warm place to live free from pests.

What is your favourite thing to put your honey on?

Drizzled on ice cream in summer, added to a hot toddy in winter. Spread on a nice warm buttery all year round!


John Lockwood – Dumfries & Galloway

What got you into bee farming?
A natural progression from having a few hives in the garden to start off with and one day realising that 30 hive in one place does not work, so either become a bee farmer or sell up.

Why do you believe in growing Scotland’s bee population?
We are so short of bees in the U.K. about four million hives short by some estimates.  We import 90% of the honey used here.

Why is your particular region good for supporting the bee population?
Here in Dumfries & Galloway we are one of a very few places where we can get Oil Seed Rape, spring, summer and a heather crop in the good years.

What conditions make for happy bees?
Plenty of forage and good quality hives and looked after correctly.

What is your favourite thing to put your honey on?
Yoghurt.