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“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 .

Laesoe 2004

Laesoe Conference 2004 BIBBA and SICAMM Combined Laesoe Conference 2004 Ten delegates from Ireland and the UK decided to approach the Danish island of Laeso, venue of the 2004 SICAMM/BIBBA Dark Bee Conference, from Gothenburg in Sweden. The chosen conveyance, Mr. Börjeson's "sea taxi", provided an efficient though very choppy passage. Once on the island we joined other BIBBA members…

John Harding Queen Rearing

The main purpose of this systemis its versatility and to have an additional use so you always double its value in purpose, and it's not lying around for the best part of the year unused. Given the choice honeybees prefer vertical narrow empty spaces with unlimited depth, and just enough space to build 5 or6 combs side by side...

Can BIBBA supply me with queens?

BIBBA as an organisation is not in a position to supply members with appropriate breeding material. BIBBA encourages members to work with other local beekeepers to select and improve the quality of bees in their area by using the best local material available. It is not advisable to source queens from a different environment from the one they have been…

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

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…

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…

East Midlands further notes

Further notes: We currently have a committee of six and 8 other members in total (who I’m contacting to see if the new location is still convenient for them) and 4 others whose expressed an interest in joining the group. So we are in flux but very stable given the significance of moving our apiary after 50 years at the…

NatBIP News No2

Signs of increase It seems we really are on to something with NatBIP - since its launch we now have over 3000 supporters. In addition, BIBBA has increased its membership by nearly fifty percent in the last 12 months. The feedback we have received from supporters and members has been amazing and we are so encouraged by your stories. One…

Lester Wickham

Lester passed away in February 2020. He joined BIBBA in 1975 and took an active role including 11 years as treasurer.

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

BBOBI Group – April 2020 Newsletter

We managed to raise over 200 virgin queens last year, all from local stock and distribute them to 67 BBOBI members for mating from early May until mid July. We would like improve our efficiency this year, we tried may ideas. Some worked really well, (grafting from our own stock), some things wasted time, (travelling to others hive to try…

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

NatBIP – June 2020

NATIONAL BEE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME (NatBIP) Bee Improvement for All Jo Widdicombe Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to improving the quality and consistency of our bees is getting beekeepers to agree on a collective way forward. Although there may be differences of opinion as to which is the best type of bee, if we look at the qualities we want in…

BIBBA Monthly – July 2020

view the latest on NatBIP how to select your breeder queensdownload Beo Cooper's bookupdates on the webinarslearn about drones from "queen" cellsJoseph Tinsley - ahead of his time

NatBIP – Selecting our Breeder Queens

Assessment of Colonies A fundamental part of the National Bee Improvement Programme will be the assessment of our colonies.  A quick and easy system of recording qualities is vital to the selection of our breeder queens.  Selection of these breeders not only allows us to raise the next generation of queens but also plays an important role in producing a…

NatBIP – Selecting within a Strain

Hardy, Docile, Productive The problem with hybridisation It is interesting to speculate how the bee population in Britain and Ireland would develop without further human intervention.  If the processes of natural selection could operate freely, what would happen to the hybridised population that we see in many areas? Around 28 sub-species of honey bee have been identified in the original…

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,…

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…

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Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again. Your subscription has been successful. Receive Regular mailings Subscribe to our email list and stay receive a programme of educational emails. Enter your email address to subscribe Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g I agree to receive your emails and accept the data privacy statement. You may unsubscribe…

Using a Smoker

Lighting the smoker and keeping it lit seems to be a major problem to many beekeepers. This is something I have never been able to understand, because it has nothing to do with learning beekeeping, it has more to do with school science lessons and common sense. How many beekeepers do you see who fill the firebox up with fuel,…

Section 3.1 – The Selection of Local Stock

Record-keeping: the selection of local stock The honey bee colonies in our area should be viewed as our resources for selection and improvement. We may only be responsible for a handful of those colonies so there is a great incentive to co-operate and work with other beekeepers in the area to increase our sphere of influence. By refraining from the…

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

Colony Record Card - NatBIP 1 How to use This card is designed to be a multipurpose card that can be used for normal hive management as well as for bee improvement in one apiary, multiple apiaries, or in a bee improvement group. The data collected on each card is for one colony. The summaries at the end of the…
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

NatBIP News No3

Introduction - Liz Childerley, BIBBA Publicity Officer Photo by kind permission of Roger Patterson As we put this NatBIP News edition together, we are forecast near-Mediterranean weather across most parts of the UK, and more importantly for beekeepers, quite a sustained period of warmth over several days.  Perhaps these are the right conditions to finally get inside the hive and…

NatBIP News No4

Sustainable beekeeping: Local adaptation and the native sub-species DEFRA’s response to the 10,000+ signatories opposed to the import of package bees, through the loophole of trade between Northern Ireland and Britain, has just been announced. It seems they have gone back on their assurances, made in February, that only queens, and not packages of bees, can be imported from Europe.…

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

Sandringham Report 2021

Sandringham Native Bee Project One of BIBBA’s Members, Eric Marshall, approached the Trustees to see if they would support a project to breed and rear native bees. Eric lives close to the Royal Sandringham Estate and it has been a key aim of BIBBA to develop a Special Apiary Project at Sandringham that would fit in with HRH the Prince…

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.