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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…

Phil Chandler “Balanced Beekeeping: Top Bars, Eco Floors and Black Bees”

I took up beekeeping in 2000 after becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of modern agriculture on wild populations of pollinators. I started with WBC hives, but quickly became interested in more natural beekeeping systems, designing and building a number of variations of the top bar hive and experimenting with low-interference protocols. I worked at Buckfast Abbey for a year…
Read more » Phil Chandler “Balanced Beekeeping: Top Bars, Eco Floors and Black Bees”

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

Conserving black bees

CONSERVING BLACK BEES (Apis mellifera mellifera) in the Hebrides, Scotland by ANDREW ABRAHAMS, via the American Bee Journal Readers might ask, why on earth spend much of a lifetime con­serving what most beekeepers perceive as an aggressive, unproduc­tive race of honey bee — a race per­haps left behind by history? I was fortunate, often by chance rather than grand design,…

History

beo1 Beowulf Cooper founder member and driving force behind BIBBA BIBBA was formed originally as the Village Bee Breeders Association (VBBA) in 1964 by Beowulf Cooper and a small group of beekeepers.

Native Honey Bees

It is fairly certain that the Dark European Honey Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, has been native to mainland Britain since before the closing of the Channel Landbridge, when sea levels rose following the last Ice Age. They became isolated and adapted to the different conditions they found themselves in.

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…

Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda “Producing Honey Under Difficult Conditions”

Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda is a commercial beekeeper based on Ireland's east coast. As a fourth-generation beekeeper, he learned his craft through helping his father with the famous Galtee black bees of Co. Tipperary. After settling in Co. Louth, he embarked on his own beekeeping enterprise using local strains of native Irish honey bee. He is Education Officer for Co.…
Read more » Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda “Producing Honey Under Difficult Conditions”

Ardnamurchan Jan 2016

Ardnamurchan Scottish Black Bee Project This Summer will be the third season for the project, which began in 2014 with funding support from BIBBA and 5 queens from Andrew Abraham’s Black Bee Reserve on the Isle of Colonsay. The Ardnamurchan peninsular, being isolated and with no known honey bee colonies before the project started, provides a near-unique opportunity for pure…

BBOBI Group – March April 2019 Newsletter

We know everyone is busy, but thought we'd draft a little newsletter of the topics covered in March and April. Tried to keep it short, but please get in touch if you need more information on any of the topics. Links and names have been included to try help you Google your way. As with all our communications - please…

University of Plymouth Project

The University of Plymouth in partnership with B4 (a community interest company: Bringing Back Black Bees) and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have started a 4 year PhD project to investigate suggestions from bee-keepers that different sub-species have a suite of different behaviours and characteristics in comparison to other sub-species, and further that these might be highly…

Some history of the East Midlands group

A problem that has long been with us, has been to find a mating site that gives reasonable isolation. We have used sites several hundred miles from our base. These include Spurn Point on the East Coast, and the Elan Valley in Wales. The restriction on movement of bees when varroa arrived put an end to such travelling, and over…

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”

New Approach to the Mitotype Classification

The main problem of the black honeybee in Russia and European countries is the preservation of the indigenous gene pool purity; A new approach to the classification of the honeybee M mitotypes was suggested.

BIM 47 – Autumn 2016

Queen raising – Alan Brown Burzyan wild-hive honeybees – R. A. Ilyasov, M. N. Kosarov. A. Neal, F. G. Yumaguzhin Queen rearing on the Isle of Man – John Evans The SMARTBEES project – Jo Widdicombe Conferences and Workshops – Roger Patterson Working for a better bee – Mark Edwards Polynucs – Peter Edwards QR at Keepers Cottage – Peter…

BIM 46 – Winter 2015

The Honey Bee family – Brian Dennis A word from Brother Adam – Brian Dennis QR – some experiences – Roger Patterson BIBBA Conference – Roy Norris The BIfA workshop – Katey Slater Grafting – Roger Patterson Assessment of the black bee – Willie Robson News from SICAMM – Philip Denwood Dark Bee Seminar – Philip Denwood The BIBBA Course…

BIM 48 – Winter 2016/17

Miniature tracking device – Paul Cross BIBBA Conference – Viki Cuthbertson Quest to Improve the Manx honey bee – Johnny Kipps, et al Bee house on the Isle-of-Man – Roger Patterson BIBBA Conference; some thoughts – R Patterson Varroa resistance – Gareth John Dark bees in Cornwall – Bob Black Ardnamurchan native bees – Kate Atchley . Queen raising criteria…

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

BIM 42 – Winter 2013

Dark Bee Reserve – Philip Denwood BIBBA Groups News – Jo Widdicombe Whither goest thou? – Brian Dennis Are you a Natural Beekeeper? – Brian Dennis A Broader Perspective – Dorian Pritchard Honey with a Buzz – Trisha Marlow Book Review – Philip Denwood Some thoughts on Grafting – Roger Patterson Honey Bee Improvement – John E Dews Bee Improvement…

BIM 38 – Spring 2012

Project Discovery – Terry Clare North Pennine Bee Group – Pritchard & Miller The Black Bees of Tasmania – Andrew Abrahams Stratford-upon-Avon BIG – Peter Edwards Native Dark Bee Breeding – Margie Ramsey News from the Groups – Jo Widdicombe News from BIPCo – Jo Widdicombe Queen Rearing Workshop – Mike Saunders Scottish Centenary Conference Sedbergh Breeding Group – Andrew…

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

From the President – Jo Widdicombe Trials and Tribulations – Frank Hilton Are you a Natural Beekeeper? – Brian Dennis Natural Beekeeping – Philip Denwood Racial Profiling of Mongrels – Paul Honigmann Bee Improvement and QR – R Patterson History of Manx beekeeping – Cilla Platt Making Increase – Brian Dennis Locally Adapted Bees – Wally Shaw Bee Races in…

Countryfile – on the Rame Peninsula

The prospect of Countryfile coming to the Rame Peninsula and doing a report on native bees was a cause for excitement and some trepidation. We are all used to incorrect reports in the press, wasps being labelled as bees and so on. We also know about the hours of filming that go on for two minutes of viewing, which can…

Godolphin-Cornwall

We have been queen rearing and improving stocks of local bees since 2015, based in the medieval garden and a small more private are on Godolphin Hill,

BIM 32 – Autumn 2009

The Harding Hive Debris Floor - John Harding Three fertile queens in one colony - Roger Patterson Variation in susceptibility to bee diseases among European races of honey bees - Dinah Sweet Isle of Wight disease in Warwickshire - Brian Milward Griff Jenkins - obituary by Albert Knight Queens entombed in wax - Norman Walsh Reply to Robin Dean’s article…

Lilac Cottage – TA11

Lilac Cottage British Black Bees aim to work with the B4 project to establish breeding stock, and a mating area in North Somerset contact Jon Penton 07712 579998

New Member Euro Direct Debit

If you are an existing member wishing to renew by euro direct debit - click here New member living in the Euro Zone; please sign up to take advantage of the euro direct debit discount Payment by direct debit makes life a lot easier for the Association's Officers, and for you as well!  You also get a reduction on the…

Sustainable Beekeeping:  A Future without Imports 2020

The morning will see presentations covering research relevant to native bees by collaborating research scientists from the Roslin Institute and The University of Plymouth. Apiary group contributions from the South West, presenting achievements, goals, events and participation opportunities.
Read more » Sustainable Beekeeping:  A Future without Imports 2020

Nick Bentham-Green

Estates Liaison 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…

BIM Index Issues 1-25

Bee Improvement Magazine: subject index. Issues 1-25 to search the index type Ctrl+f (Cmd+f on Mac) to open search box Africa Beekman, Dr. Madeleine "The Cape invaders." 9, 12 Allergies Tarzi, Dr. M. D. "Allergy to hymenoptera venom." 9, 8 Apis mellifera mellifera Burry, Harris "Conserving biodiversity in the dark European honey bee." 2, 8 Crudgington, Dr. H.G. "Hygienic behaviour…

BIBBA Monthly – September 2020

National Bee Improvement Programme Webinars - Season Three Cupkits, Fakes and Annoyance Conserving Black Bees

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 programme. JUST STARTING 🎥 Roger Patterson - "Beekeeping: What's it all about?" This is a 1 hour presentation that gives the absolute basic information to help potential beekeepers decide if they should go…

BIBBA Monthly – November 2021

What is BIBBA for? Will the Irish Republic Ban Honey Bee Imports? BIBBA & the Welsh BKA book: The Native Irish Honey Bee Sandringham Native Bee Project National Honey Show 2021 review

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

Why the production of a large number of drones is the inevitable consequence of the free mating of queens in drone congregations; and why this proliferation of drones is a key factor in ensuring the adaptability and resilience of the honey bee through the ages.