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Honey bee conservation

In order to compensate the dramatic losses of honeybee colonies that we see globally for many years now, beekeepers try to restore their apiaries by importing colonies or queens in the hopes that those survive better than their previous bees. Such imports increase the level of introgression with local honeybee populations in which genetic variability is geographically highly structured. In…

Bee Improvement for All” (BIFA) Days

Bee Improvement for all” is a one day course that is designed to help beekeepers to improve their bees by using some of the opportunities that bees give them during the season, as well as giving information to those who wish to raise more queens .

Bee Improvement and Bee Breeding Groups

BIBBA encourages the formation of local queen rearing groups to aid the improvement of local bees and to support the objectives of BIBBA to improve and propagate the native and near native honey bees. Benefits of Local GroupsMany beekeepers only have a small number of colonies, so they find it easier to work with others. A group will have beekeepers…

John Dew’s Views – the Best Bee

There is a tendency amongst some beekeepers to believe that the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence”, that imported bees are superior to the indigenous bee

Colonsay a honey bee haven

TWO remote Hebridean islands have become the UK’s first reserve for native honey bees after a landmark ruling by Scottish ministers. There are around 250 native species of bee in Britain but just a single honey bee – Apis mellifera. The isles of Colonsay and Oronsay are currently home to around 50 colonies and have now been named in a…

A Native Dark Bee Project

Margie Ramsay reports on a project reintroducing A.m.m. to a reserve in Scotland. Update July 2015 In 1905, just before the First World War there was a 20 year long bee plague called Isle of Wight disease which was considered by many, including bee breeder Brother Adam, to have eradicated the native subspecies of dark European honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera…

Galtee Bee Breeding Group

The Galtee Bee Breeding Group was formed in the year 1991 with the object of conservation, study and improvement of the native strains of dark European Honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera in the Galtee/Vee valley and surrounding areas of South Tipperary. In the first year we had only four members and increased our membership only very gradually during the early years.…

Bacteria Help Honey Bee Larvae

Honey bees are under constant pressure from a whole host of stresses—diseases, poor nutrition,sublethal effects of pesticides, and many others. While researchers have been aware for a number of years of a community of bacteria in adult bees that may aid with some of these stresses,Agricultural Research Service researchers have identified the first bacteria that offer a benefit to bee

Upper Dee Bee Improvement Group

This group covers a substantial area stretching from the Dee valley (Glyn Dyfrdwy) between Corwen and Bala and Westwards to Cwm Main on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The aim of the group is to achieve a high percentage of quality native or near-native drones in the district so that everyone in the area can let their virgins…

Stiperstones & Long Mynd Area Bee Breeders – SY15

SLABB [Stiperstones & Long Mynd Area Bee Breeders] is based in mid Shropshire/adjacent Welsh Marches. Core activities centre around selective breeding from the best near-native bees and local bees showing native characteristics and behaviours, hence improving thrift, robustness and temperament. Happy to work collaboratively with individuals or other small groups in the area who share our aims. We use grafting…
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Dark Bee Conservation Group – WF5

West Yorkshire group aiming to promote and improve the local bee whilst preserving the natural honey bee diversity, reduce colony losses and reduce the dependence on therapeutic and chemical treatments. contact Stuart Atkinson

Margaret Murdin “Bee Genetics Explained” – “Understanding the Queen”

Margaret has been keeping bees for about 12 years and is a practical beekeeper who learnt her skills as a member of the Ormskirk and Croston Branch of the Lancashire Association. She is a member of BIBBA and keeps bees that are well adapted to the local area. She currently has 20 colonies across 3 apiaries and is interested in…
Read more » Margaret Murdin “Bee Genetics Explained” – “Understanding the Queen”

What is the ‘British Black’ bee?

This is a local name for the honey bee sub-species Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm) that is native to the British Isles. There are about 28 different sub-species of the western honey bee, Apis mellifera, originally distributed through Europe, the Near East and Africa. In the British Isles and Northern Europe, from France to the Urals, the native sub-species is commonly…

Tony Maggs “Bee Farming with Native/Near Native Bees”

After pestering a friend of the family for many years, who was an experienced beekeeper in the Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Association, he eventually helped me to start beekeeping by taking me with him to hive a swarm. This mentor turned out to be a keen member of BIBBA, so pointed me the right direction. After five years of beekeeping, I started…
Read more » Tony Maggs “Bee Farming with Native/Near Native Bees”

Jo Widdicombe “The Principles and Practice of Bee Improvement”

Jo has been a member of BIBBA for nearly 30 years and serves on the BIBBA Committee. He was a Bee Inspector for 5 years and now runs over 100 colonies in Cornwall. Author of the book, ‘The Principles of Bee Improvement’. Lecture Title: "The Principles and Practice of Bee Improvement" A practical approach to ‘Bee Improvement’ aimed at showing…
Read more » Jo Widdicombe “The Principles and Practice of Bee Improvement”

Philip Denwood “Towards a History of the Dark Bee in Britain”

Philip has been keeping bees in the Chiltern area since 1971, and was attracted to BIBBA by seeing the publications on display at the National Honey Show in 1972. He served on the BIBBA Committee for many years. After Beowulf Cooper’s death he collected his published and unpublished writings and from them compiled “The Honeybees of the British Isles”. He…
Read more » Philip Denwood “Towards a History of the Dark Bee in Britain”

Steve Rose “My Approach to Bee Selection”

Steve keeps around 40 colonies on high ground in North Wales with Snowdonia to the West and the Berwyn mountains to the East. He finds that for bees to thrive in his locality they have to be particularly well adapted. He thus heads a breeding group which selects for native traits that are typical of the local ecotype and makes…

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

Nick Bentham-Green “Bee Improvement in Cornwall, Achievements and Aspirations”

Nick was in a ‘former life’ a Royal Marines Officer for 32 years. Nick first started keeping bees in the early 90’s having between 2 and 5 colonies for many years. For most of that time he bred his own queens, quickly realising that there had to be a better way rather than importing queens. Nick chaired the Tavistock Branch…
Read more » Nick Bentham-Green “Bee Improvement in Cornwall, Achievements and Aspirations”

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

<- Part One More advanced Strategies in Bee Improvement suitable for native bees Many people find queen rearing a daunting prospect. There is an overwhelming amount of information, methods and advice. For clarity you simply need to select your selection criteria, a method of starting queen cells, a method of mating your queens and a method of introducing your queens.…
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

Group Presentation & Discussion “Bee improvement and bee breeding groups – some experiences and ideas”

Three representatives from existing bee breeding and bee improvement groups, operating in different areas, under different conditions, will each give a short presentation on their own group. They will tell us about their history, how they have progressed and how they may have dealt with problems or opportunities. An open discussion will follow, which should cover the various aspects of…
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The black bee, an increasingly rare pearl

translated from Pollinis "l'abeille noire" https://www.pollinis.org/admin/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/abeille-noire-6.pdf In addition to the many factors that are decimating bee colonies around the world, the black bee, the local bee, is facing a race for short-term profitability which favours the import of bees that are often unsuitable for our areas and are more fragile. A marvel of adaptation Lively, frugal and resistant, the black…

BIPCo 6th Annual Bee Improvement Day

A one-day event organised by the Bee Improvement Programme for Cornwall (BIPCo) To be held at Lanhydrock Memorial Hall, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 5AE on Saturday 18th February 2017

The Dark Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in the United Kingdom

The article below is based on a lecture given by Philip Denwood to the SICAMM Conference in Landquart, Switzerland, on 1st September 2012 Articles by Dr. Dorian Pritchard,1 and by Norman Carreck2 of the Laboratory of Social Insects at Sussex, have presented the evidence, convincing in my opinion, for the immigration of the honey bee into mainland Britain across the…
Read more » The Dark Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in the United Kingdom

Bee Improvement for All: Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden BKA with the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) are organising a 'Bee Improvement for All'  day with Roger Patterson: A one day event packed with sound information to help all beekeepers improve their bees. The presentation will concentrate on encouraging beekeepers to raise their own queens to produce docile colonies that are productive, healthy and best…

Bee Breeding and Queen Rearing Courses UK

[column-half-1] Teaching Events There are three types of BIBBA event to help and encourage beekeepers to raise their own queens from locally adapted colonies, rather than to use imported queens that may not suit their environment, or run the risk of importing pests and diseases. BIBBA Open Days Bee Improvement For All (BIFA) days One and two day Bee Improvement…

Bee Improvement For All: West Sussex

A one day event packed with sound information to help all beekeepers improve their bees. The presentation will concentrate on encouraging beekeepers to raise their own queens to produce docile colonies that are productive, healthy and best suited to their environment. The bees often give us opportunities during the summer and there will be plenty of ideas on how to use…

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

Rearing your own queens is a cost effective way to ensure the continuity of your hives, grow your stock  and improve the quality and temperament of your bees. This practical, 2 day workshop covers a range the topics and techniques to suit the “ordinary” beekeeper. It includes a large practical element that is easy to understand and apply without the…

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

Rearing your own queens is a cost effective way to ensure the continuity of your hives, grow your stock  and improve the quality and temperament of your bees. This practical, 2 day workshop covers a range the topics and techniques to suit the “ordinary” beekeeper. It includes a large practical element that is easy to understand and apply without the…

Bee Improvement for All – Portishead

Date:- Saturday 27 January 2018 Time:- 9.00 for 9.30-4.30 approx. Venue:- The Folk Hall, 95 High Street, Portishead, Bristol, BS20 6PR Cost:- £10 per head adult. £5 per head for under 18, who must be accompanied by a fee paying adult. Refreshments included. Bring your own lunch. Bookings and Enquiries: Bookings must be made using the following link (no payments…

Bee Improvement for All – Devon

Due to the many beekeeping events in the locality, including the conference at Eden Project and four associated events on the same weekend, we have had to cancel the Bee Improvement for All Day at South Brent. This is a great pity because there have been over 40 of these popular events since 2014, many of which have reached venue…

East of England Bee Improvement Groups

An opportunity to meet beekeepers from around the region to discuss Bee Improvement and queen rearing.Presentations on: Starting and Organising a Bee Improvement Group - Equipment needed, raising finance, running a group. Selecting Stock for propagation - natural and beekeeper selection. The importance of Drones - selecting and positioning. Starter colonies, set up and maintenance Support colonies - you need…

A Proposal for a
National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

There are concerns by beekeepers of all levels about the dangers of the ever-increasing queen and bee imports into the U.K. These have increased fivefold between 2011 and 2019. As well as the risk of bringing in pests and diseases, imported bees have been shown to be less well-equipped for survival in our climate and conditions. In addition, continuous hybridisation…
Read more » A Proposal for a
National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

BBOBI was set up in 2019 as a co-operative in Henley-on-Thames, which borders Bucks Berks and Oxon. Although a large geographical area, the climate and forage are remarkably consistent across the area. As the first BIBBA group in the home counties, we aim to be a springboard for other local clusters, as they attract more members and hopefully set up…
Read more » Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

A key question any individual or group should consider is what method should I/we follow to Improve our bees and to produce queens. There are a few key choices depending on your aims, capacity (time and equipment) and capabilities. I’m assuming the reader is looking for a bee that is native and/or locally adapted.
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

Proposal by the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) to:(1) reduce the level of honey bee imports into the UK, and(2) to improve the quality of our honey bees Introduction The National Pollinator Strategy (The National Pollinator Strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England, November 2014) highlights the importance of insect pollinators in our environment and in our…
Read more » A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn – part three

<- part two Bee Improvement Strategies by Kevin Thorn the third and final part of Kevin's series 3: More advanced Strategies in Bee Improvement suitable for native bees Propagating and positioning Drones To have any chance of breeding pure native queens you need to be producing lots of drones – the more the more successful you will be. You also…
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn – part three