BEES and honey producers are thriving across parts of Scotland thanks to a helping hand from one of the nation’s most iconic birds – the red grouse.

Despite long-held concerns over a decline in the number of bees across the country – not helped by this summer’s inclement weather – rural estates are reporting a proliferation in bees present on moorland as they access Scotland’s iconic heather, something welcomed by the Scottish Beekeepers Association.

Heather moorland is most prominent on grouse-managed moorland, where heather is a central part of the red grouse’s diet. Around 75 per cent of the world’s heather is in the UK, with the majority of that on moors in Scotland.