Establish a honey bee hive

Business Sectors (Suites): Agricultural Crop Production
Developed by: Lantra
Approved on: 01 Jan 2019


This standard covers the establishment of a honey bee hive. The aim will be to establish a strong healthy colony of bees for the production of honey. This standard is suitable for those involved in establishing honey bee hives.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. assess the risks associated with the activity to be carried out

    1. wear suitable clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE)

    2. identify an appropriate location for the honey bee hive

    3. select, prepare, use and maintain beekeeping equipment safely

    and correctly

    1. select the appropriate type of hive

    2. confirm that the hive is correctly assembled, in accordance with


    1. position the hive on a suitable platform

    2. acquire honey bees and a queen for the hive at the correct time

    3. place the bees in the hive at the correct time, maintaining the

    safety of yourself and others and the health and welfare of the


    1. place the queen in the hive maintaining separation until the colony

    has settled

    1. maintain an ample supply of food until the worker bees establish a


    1. monitor the hive for signs of pests, diseases and disorders and

    take appropriate action if they are detected

    1. maintain communication with colleagues and others involved in,

    or affected by, the activity

    1. maintain good hygiene practices and bio-security

    2. carry out all work in accordance with relevant environmental and

    health and safety legislation, beekeeping legislation, risk

    assessment requirements and codes of practice

    1. maintain records of beekeeping activities

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. how to identify hazards and assess risks

    1. the type of clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE)

    suitable for beekeeping activities

    1. the beekeeping equipment required and how to use it safely and

    correctly for beekeeping activities

    1. how and where a honey bee hive should be sited and the factors

    that should be taken into account e.g. food source, risk to the


    1. the different types of hives and components and how they

    are assembled and used

    1. the principles that govern the design of hives and frames e.g.

    the concept of bee space, and the main features of their


    1. the different strains of honey bees and their characteristics

    2. the different adult bees within the colony and their specific job

    3. how to introduce the bees and queen to the hive in a way that

    minimises stress

    1. the stages in the life cycle of a honey bee

    2. the elementary anatomy and biology of a honey bee

    3. how the bees' behaviour can help to regulate the environment

    within the colony

    1. the communication methods used by bees

    2. the make up of a nucleus and how it can be used

    3. how plants and bees are mutually beneficial to each other

    4. elementary botany and foraging for bee farming

    5. the principles involved in feeding honey bees and why it is

    important that no honey boxes are in place when bees are being

    fed sugar syrup

    1. the nutritional value of honey to the honey bee colony

    2. the management needed to cope with changes in seasons,

    geographic locations, weather conditions, the timing of the

    flowering of forage plants and sources of undesirable nectar

    1. where to find information on pests, diseases and disorders

    affecting honey bee colonies, including which are notifiable, and

    the action to take if they are detected

    1. the potential impact of pests, diseases and disorders on bee

    health, the management of the colony and their economic effects

    1. the correct procedures to take in the event of an emergency

    2. the importance of maintaining communication with those involved

    in, or affected by, the activity

    1. the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices and biosecurity and the methods for achieving these

    2. your responsibilities under relevant environmental and health and

    safety legislation, beekeeping legislation and codes of practice

    1. the need for relevant insurance

    2. the role of professional organisations and associations

    3. the records that need to be kept and the importance of completing



Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Adult bees:

• worker

• drone

• queen

Beekeeping activities:

use of a smoker

assembly of a hive

removal of hive parts (roof, crown board, suppers, brood combs)

collection of honey


food labelling

cleaning hive components

Beekeeping equipment:




personal protective equipment

hive tool

queen excluder


Communication methods used by bees:

food sharing





• unhealthy brood

• sting

• swarm

Hygiene practices:

• protective clothing

• hand washing

• personal illness

• cuts and wounds

Pests, diseases and disorders:

small hive beetle


varroa mite

wax moth

tracheal mites

Asian hornet



American foul brood

European foul brood

sac brood

bald brood

drone brood

chalk brood


starved colony

chilled or overheated colony

plant poisoning

pesticide poisoning

Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

31 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Beekeeper, Farmer

SOC Code



Brood; Comb; Beekeeper; Colony; Worker; Drone; Queen; Pollen; Nectar; Honey