Monitor and maintain a honey bee hive

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


This standard covers the monitoring and maintenance of a honey bee hive. The aim is to ensure the maintenance of the hive to produce a strong healthy colony of bees for the production of honey. This standard is suitable for those involved in monitoring and maintaining a honey bee hive.

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 whether the conditions are appropriate for the honey bee

    hive to be opened

    1. use beekeeping equipment to open the hive safely

    2. identify the normal appearance of brood comb

    3. identify different types of adult bees within the colony

    4. identify the contents of the cell within a comb

    5. identify the brood

    6. check for the presence of pests, diseases and disorders and

    take appropriate action if they are detected

    1. perform maintenance activities at the correct times and in

    accordance with relevant legislation and codes of practice

    1. reassemble the hive according to specifications

    2. 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. the different components of a honey bee hive and how they are

    assembled and used

    1. how to manage changes in seasons, geographic locations,

    weather conditions, the timing of the flowering of forage plants

    and sources of undesirable nectar

    1. how to manipulate bees to enable the opening of the hive for


    1. the process involved in breeding honey bees

    2. how bees respond to perfume and other scents

    3. the benefits of using supers when required

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

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

    6. the elementary anatomy and biology of a honey bee

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

    within the colony

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

    2. how bees collect pollen, nectar and water and their uses in the


    1. how honey is made and why you get different types of honey

    2. the communication methods used by bees

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

    4. the correct time to remove honey from the colony

    5. the importance of preventing robbing and how it affects the colony

    6. the conditions leading to a swarm and the danger it presents

    7. how a swarm and a nucleus can be turned into a productive


    1. the reasons for comb renewal

    2. the importance of reviewing the age of the existing queen and

    planning for a replacement

    1. the advantages of marking and clipping queens

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

    health, the management of the colony and the economic effects

    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 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 this

    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



• eggs

• larva

• sealed brood in combs

Cell: hexagonal section of a honey comb, storing pollen, nectar and


Communication methods used by bees:

e.g. 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