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Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

[…]from a midrib, using only the wax secreted by the worker bees. The cells are multi functional, being used repeatedly for rearing the larvae and for the storage of honey and pollen. Progressive feeding of the larvae is carried out by young bees with food produced by glands in the head of the bee from honey and pollen. Two attributes […]
Read more » Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]– Cilla Platt Beekeeping started even before the Irish gods were told to find an island to go into exile. Making Increase – Brian Dennis There are bad tempered bees, which should not be tolerated… Locally Adapted Bees – Wally Shaw The natural distribution of A.m.m. starts north of the Pyrenees in France, spreading north into most of Western Europe. […]

Native Honey Bees

[…]stocks of all sub species worldwide there has been a certain amount of introgression, due to bees being introduced into parts where they are not native and “tweaking” by breeders. This applies to Amm too, but doesn’t mean the purer samples are heavily mongrelised, as there are many strains that perform consistantly, not very variably, as you would get in […]

Webinars – Summary

Recordings of the majority of webinars are also available on our YouTube Channel Don’t forget to sign up here, for free, to learn more about our future […]

March 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]recently have been made from plastic. As an engineer, I see a few problems with plastic, including being easily broken, distorting and the material degenerating in the sun, so cracking in use. I found a similar item is now being made in stainless steel, that although only one colour, which isn’t a problem to me, will be permanent. As usual, […]

Conserving black bees

[…]some more diluted by foreign imports than others. Many beekeepers see the worth of main­taining and improving their heritage by selecting and raising their own queens. Others would argue that it is easier and cheaper to import from abroad; after all, some think bees are bees are bees! When asked about the Black Bee, many will repeat what they have […]

Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

[…]of my bees and colonies were literally swept away. Anyway, long story short, I needed to get back into increasing my stocks. Of my remaining colonies, only two were what I would consider to be sensible to raise queen cells from. Roger was talking about his intention to raise more queens than usual this year and we figured that his […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

[…]a given colony reaching a queen, is a simple function of the number of drones from that colony being present in the air at that point in space and time. To understand this, imagine that in the long course of the evolution of the honey bee, a mutation were to arise in some colony that favoured the production of many […]

John Harding Queen Rearing

[…]over 30 years experience of queen rearing and watching what the bees do. It is many ideas turned into one, and I have tried to follow as near as possible what bees do in the wild. I have also developed and put in use a mini nuc system and a debris floor that have all worked very successfully without using […]

Colony Assessment Criteria

[…]otherwise you will have problems you could probably do without. Colour. This is often seen as not being important, but it gives you a very good idea if your selection is on track or not. It is more difficult to breed from colonies where the workers are different colours, as the queens raised will also be different colours and will […]

Work with Bangor University

[…]the Bangor researcher Elise Keller.  Elise processed the resulting data and provided a base line, in the form of her MSc. Dissertation, from which the local queen rearers were able to assess future changes in purity across the region. A similar study was conducted in 2015 by Bangor’s Sue Loughran and a third one in 2016 by Bangor’s Cheryl Owen. […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

[…]more rapid. Assessment of stock Roger’s recommendation is to simply split your colonies into two groups, roughly half and half and propagate queens from your best half colonies when opportunity presents e.g. swarming and replace your poor half queens with the queens you produce. Deciding which are your better colonies can be as simple as which do you enjoy handling […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

[…]their colonies vary behaviourally too. In some cases temper can be a problem, with some of them being quite spiky. This isn’t good in a teaching apiary, so they are quickly culled, along with any yellow ones. I cull yellow queens because in my experience they are usually more prolific than my darker bees, so need more than the single […]
Read more » Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

Section 3.1 – The Selection of Local Stock

[…]co-operate and work with other beekeepers in the area to increase our sphere of influence. By refraining from the use of imported stock we are already on the way to developing a local strain, shaped by ‘natural selection’ and also by ‘artificial selection’ or selection by the beekeeper. The process of improvement depends on propagating the genes of the best […]

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

[…]Type of hive + Brood box system e.g. brood and half Main Table Box: General scales are 1 to 5 (5 being best). The first two rows (above) are the scores brought forward from the previous year. This allows an at-a-glance reference to the colony’s history and past performance. These two rows are only relevant if the colony has the […]
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

Recommended YouTube Videos

[…]appropriate for our conditions, those in the “Advanced” category may need the viewer to take into account regional variations and make adjustments based on their own knowledge and experience. Beginners Pests and Diseases Management techniques Queen rearing and bee improvement General […]

NatBIP News No4

[…]trade between NI and GB benefits from unfettered market access”. Clearly something imported into Northern Ireland for the sole purpose of exporting to Britain is not ‘genuine trade’ and packages, from Italy, continue to represent a biosecurity risk with regards to the small hive beetle. Of course, BIBBA is also concerned about the effect of imports on our bees’ genetics, and […]

Local bees better than imports

[…]problem of honey bee colony losses. Among the many explanations for these losses, variability in the genetic makeup and vitality of honey bee populations might help to explain some of the variability in honey bee colony losses experienced in different regions. This has led to the innovative honey bee Genotype-Environment Interactions (GEI) experiment carried out by members of the international […]

Paul Cross “Development of a miniature vibration energy harvester for battery-less tracking of honey bees

[…]tracking of honey beesThe recent global decline in honey bee colonies has ignited efforts to better understand the spatial interaction of bees with their environment. To date, no technology exists to effectively track such things as foraging, queen and drone flight paths or enable the long-term evaluation of navigation loss of bees exposed to potentially harmful pesticides such as […]
Read more » Paul Cross “Development of a miniature vibration energy harvester for battery-less tracking of honey bees

Randy Oliver – Bees in California – Colony Buildup and Decline – Understanding Varroa – Breeding the Ideal Bee for Your Area

Randy Oliver owns and operates a small commercial beekeeping enterprise in the foothills of Grass Valley in Northern California. He and his two sons manage about 1000 colonies for migratory pollination, and produce queens, nucs, and honey. He has over 40 years of practical beekeeping experience, plus holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biological Sciences. Randy researches, analyzes, and digests […]
Read more » Randy Oliver – Bees in California – Colony Buildup and Decline – Understanding Varroa – Breeding the Ideal Bee for Your Area

Abberton Native Bee Group/ Essex 4 Bees – CO2

[…]I was able to get 3 native queens from Jo Widdecombe late in the season. I introduced the 3 queens into pre prepared nucs of my own mongrel bees (I left them in their cages for 3 days) and they were readily accepted. The colonies were then moved to Abberton and transferred into hives that Bill provided. In August Essex […]
Read more » Abberton Native Bee Group/ Essex 4 Bees – CO2

BIBBA Open Day – Improve Your Bees

[…]productive and suit their local conditions. There will be one or two PowerPoint presentations to inform attendees of the basic principles of bee improvement, together with some simple suggestions on how the ordinary beekeeper can improve their own bees. There will be several demonstrations with live colonies on topics such as:- Colony handling, assessment and recording Methods of raising queen […]

Bees for Sale

[…]that we can dissuade beekeepers from buying imported queens. We presently do not have the ability to inspect or vouch for such queens and nucs and simply require the seller to give an assurance that they are raised from local stock and are not imports, and that the seller supports the objectives of BIBBA. Learn to Create Your Own: NatBIP […]

Sustainable Bees & Queens

[…]but need help to produce them. In addition, many BKAs are unable to produce enough bees for their beginners and queens to head them. In response to the obvious need the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) are staging a series of one day regional events during the 2018/19 winter. These are to help and encourage everyone from the […]

I Want Bees

[…]and northern geographical race of Apis mellifera, the western honeybee. It may be subdivided into many local ecotypes. Its various vernacular names include:“Dark European Honeybee” (English),“L’abeille noire” (French),“Die dunkle Biene” (German) and“Det mörka Nordiska Biet” (Swedish) Apis mellifera mellifera is distinguished from other subspecies of the honey bee by:a) Morphological characters, including colour, size, wing venation, abdominal hair length;b) Genetic […]

BIBBA Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens

[…]Honey Bees and Queens Here are 15 reasons why: Bee Health BIBBA supports the prosperity and wellbeing of all our current populations of bees, including honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees as well as other pollinators, Imported honey bees pose a considerable risk each year to our present populations in many different ways. This ever-growing practice is not sustainable. It […]
Read more » BIBBA Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens

Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

[…]for beginners, as indeed for some of the more seasoned beekeepers, who are not accustomed to examining their colonies on a regular basis. Perhaps the ability to spot the queen may be described as a gift, which comes with experience in the routine handling of bees. Certainly there would appear to be an acquired “knack” to it. It is generally […]

Laesoe 2004

[…]Bee apiary with about a dozen trough hives of the type found right across the North European plain into Russia. Figs. 2 and 3 will give an idea of the extreme docility, non-jumpiness and steadiness of the bees on the comb. It was the same in Sweden 2000 and Poland 2002; and yet we still see the dark bee castigated […]

John Dew’s Views – the Best Bee

[…]environmental needs, to the east, to colonise the Middle East and south east Europe, evolving into several sub-species of which the best known are the Italian, the Carniolan, the Greek and the Caucasian; the third migratory route was to the west, across the Sahara which was a savannah before it became a desert, from which evolved the bees of north […]

Galtee Bee Breeding Group

[…]of our group the eminent scientist Dr. Jacob Kahn who is currently engaged in ongoing studies into the morphometric characters of our native Irish bees. GBBG has devised a programme of evaluation, recording, culling and selection that has proved very effective over the years. Each year selected breeder queens are brought back to the breeding apiary. These are used for […]

Some history of the East Midlands group

[…]free of charge to the beekeepers nearest to the site. This was an attempt to carry out a mono-straining exercise similar to the one in Tipperary by Micheál MacGiolla Coda, where approximately 1,600 square miles have been mono-strained with his gentle black Galtee bees. These are Apis mellifera mellifera bees, the Dark European honeybee. With our first two seasons at […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

[…]season to develop knowledge and expertise. There’s a lot to cover here so I’m breaking this into two sections – part one was Simple Bee Improvement in last month’s edition, here is part two and the final part will be in next month’s edition. Starting Stock Once a beekeeper or group has mastered simple bee improvement you may wish to […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

The black bee, an increasingly rare pearl

[…]use of the black bee by beekeepers has declined sharply because it has a reputation for being aggressive and producing little honey. The black bee is certainly not a docile bee. For some, this ability to defend themselves, this reactivity to stress, is even an advantage because it forces men to adopt beekeeping practices that respect their nature. Scientists have also shown that […]

The Dark Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in the United Kingdom

[…]have presented the evidence, convincing in my opinion, for the immigration of the honey bee into mainland Britain across the land bridge from Europe at least 9000 years ago, and its continued existence here ever since. This bee would have been the ancestor of the Apis mellifera mellifera or Dark European subspecies and geographical race, as would any later imports […]
Read more » The Dark Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in the United Kingdom


[…]in Charge Juliet Turner said that you can’t underestimate the importance of Honey bees in maintaining the variety of plants and trees around the estate, and maintaining populations of well adapted native bees should be a priority in the county. Claire North, Visitor Services & Enterprises Manager at Godolphin, said they are pleased to part of such an upsurge in interest […]

How I select my ‘Breeder Queens’

[…]season I like to make a shortlist of which queens are good enough to breed from, in other words, to become my breeder queens. I do this by looking at the current condition of the colony as well as looking at the record of past performance. An inspection, usually in April, will provide a lot of useful information. As soon […]

Neville Dearden

[…]use at home 47 years after it was produced! Qualified in craft work, Neville is able to enjoy combining these skills with making beekeeping equipment and has won several prizes for items he’s made. Included in these were new national hives used in the establishment of a 10 hive apiary at a young person’s educational trust based on a 120 […]

Webinars – Season Two

Tuesday 18th August 7:30pm – Roger Patterson – “Dead Bees Don’t Buzz – Surviving the Winter “ Presentation:  “Dead Bees Don’t Buzz – Surviving the Winter “ View Recording – Roger Patterson – “Dead Bees Don’t Buzz – Surviving the Winter “ Tuesday 25th August 7:30pm – Lynfa Davies – “The Mystery of Mating” Presentation:  “The Mystery of Mating”. View […]

Adam Tofilski Webinars

[…]the title of Professor. How to protect native honey bees? view recording Honey bees are native to the British Islands and Ireland. As with the whole of northern Europe, native subspecies is Apis mellifera mellifera, which is nowadays endangered by extinction because of imports of non-native bees by beekeepers. The native bees deserve to be protected because they are better […]

East Midlands 1998

[…]to set the scene. It is tempting to make changes just for the sake of change, or to be panicked into making changes when things go wrong. This last season has been disappointing largely because it has been such a wet season, as the weather records that have been broken clearly indicate. What we have learnt though, in this wet […]