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Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

[…]Colour, stripes, clipped? Apiary Name: Name or location of apiary Hive No.: Number or ID of hive Hive Type: 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 […]
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

[…]will be ” dated ” and so it is always possible to determine her age by reference to the hive card or record book. She can be easily and quickly found at any time. It is possible to ascertain if and when she has been superseded, or if she has attempted to leave with a swarm, in which case she […]

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]rarely if ever harvested. There are various hives designed for this purpose – the egg-shaped Sun Hive and Veuille Hive, the cylindrical Freedom Hive, or simply a cavity hollowed out of a living tree. Natural beekeepers would be favourable to the idea of keeping bees adapted to their local environment – in Britain, Apis mellifera mellifera or something very close […]

Section 2.1 – How NatBIP will work

[…]qualities can be made every time we inspect a colony during the active season and recorded on the Record Card. Whether we are working on bee improvement as an individual, or as a group, we must decide which qualities are important to us. The fewer the qualities we wish to select, the easier it is to make progress. In this […]

NatBIP News No3

[…]tips on those all-important first inspections, along with some help in completing your 2020/21 record card by recording the traits your bees have shown over winter. And if like me, one of the first jobs you need to tackle this season is that troublesome colony that you ‘tolerated’ last year – Jo has some advice on how to deal with […]

NatBIP News No4

[…]to monitor the qualities of our queens using our own system of record-keeping or download the record card from the NatBIP GUIDE on the BIBBA website (search As we assess the qualities of our colonies at each inspection, we quickly build up a picture of which colony or colonies are worth rearing offspring from. Queen rearing does not have […]

Pete Sutcliffe – “The hive as a processing centre”

[…]is currently leading a county-wide working group on selective queen-rearing. Lecture Title: “The hive as a processing centre” “A hive of activity” as the saying goes! To ensure the colony survives in a healthy state, honey bees collect everything they need from the surrounding area in the form of relatively simple, readily available, natural products. They then process these in […]
Read more » Pete Sutcliffe – “The hive as a processing centre”

Trisha Marlow “(The) Status Quo: Rocking all over the Hive

[…]a BBKA Master Beekeeper, Project Manager with Bees Abroad (UK NGO), trustee of BIBBA, county Bee Recorder for Montgomeryshire, and member of both Shropshire Beekeeping Association and the Welsh Beekeepers Association. A firm advocate of accessible continuing education and capacity building for all beekeepers, Trisha runs the BBKA Facebook group with a membership of 4300 and gives time and assistance with social […]
Read more » Trisha Marlow “(The) Status Quo: Rocking all over the Hive

Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

[…]prolific than Italians, the workers live longer and there is a higher ratio of foraging bees to hive bees. The wintering capabilities of the Dark bee are excellent; although colony size is at all times moderate and the winter cluster is small, heat is conserved by the tightness of the cluster and the large bodies and long overhair of the […]
Read more » Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11

[…]participate in small group informal training sessions on topics such as practical queen rearing, hive manipulation techniques, record keeping and assessment for breeder potential.   If you are interested in finding out more about the Group please contact Alan Wilkins the Group Secretary on   The BIBBA East Midlands Bee Improvement Group is participating in The National Bee Improvement […]

Some history of the East Midlands group

[…]made to hold the queen cells. A digital thermometer on the lid giving the temperature reading. Record keeping is a vital part of queen rearing and distribution of queens. Not least among the problems in this, is in actually getting information on the queens afterwards. Notes on introduction, colony behaviour and performance with the new queens are the basics of […]

The black bee, an increasingly rare pearl

[…]a new swarm, and conversely, they could become domestic by passing from a natural cavity to the hive. Under the current degraded ecological conditions, the fewer natural swarms no longer last as well.  Mostly, the evolution of beekeeping practices aims to reduce swarming by controlling reproduction, with grafting (transfer of larvae), artificial insemination or selection of queens. The bee is therefore an […]

BIM 33 – Winter 2010

[…]Unwin Local Queen Programme – Roger Patterson Assessment of colonies – Jo Widdicombe The BIBBA record card – Philip Denwood Groups – Terry Clare A model agreement – Terry Clare Queen rearing group – Roger Patterson Warnholz Mini BiVo nuc – Dave Cushman The Harding Mini Nuc – John Harding Bee improvement – Roger Patterson Entombment follow-up – Dave Cushman […]

How I select my ‘Breeder Queens’

[…]be gauged. If the colony is not disturbed by this operation, and continues to sit quietly in the hive, then it may have the required docility. This assessment of docility will continue as one removes combs for inspection. I normally assess ‘docility’ and ‘calmness on the comb’ together, giving ‘5’ for perfect behaviour. Some prefer to split the assessment according […]

NatBIP News No2

[…]as it is ‘locally adapted’. The Record Card You, or a beekeeper near you, may already have a record card for recording the qualities of the bees. If not, by all means design your own system, or look at what is offered in Section 4.1 of the NatBIP GUIDE at This can be used as it is, or modified, […]

Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

[…]therefore proposed to give away marked virgin queens during 2019 to anyone prepared to monitor and record their progress over 2 years and to record their results on a group app called Hivelog. Any beekeepers with queens demonstrating good temperament would be asked to add a frame of drone comb in year two and may also be asked to provide […]
Read more » Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

NatBIP – May 2020

[…]would keep a record of every colony’s performance and characteristics, using a standardized record card. The record of performance for the previous season plus a few checks in the current season, such as how the colony has over-wintered, health of the colony, etc. will allow the choice of the best queens for breeding from, that is the ‘breeder queens’ which […]

Conserving black bees

[…]fringe! Early Days for a novice beekeeper. However, back to that shed on Colon­say and the empty hives. In the late 1960s Niall McNeill had retired to the neighbouring island of Islay and tak­en Colonsay’s stocks of Blacks with him. I could not find any wild stocks by the late 1970s, but back then I had an inexperienced eye. I […]

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

[…]The new colony needs to be defendable and the foraging bees may end up going back to the parent hive. I left new nucs locked up in a cool shed for three days before moving them out and onto a stand, opening up the entrance. So, did it all work? Not entirely. I had some bees not mate/return, some absconded, […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

Section 3.1 – The Selection of Local Stock

[…]over time according to beekeepers’ experience. In the system described, using the suggested record card, the following qualities are selected: Native appearance Temperament Swarming propensity Health and brood pattern (also over-wintering) Relative honey yield Individuals, or groups, around the country may prefer a different set of qualities and are free to adjust accordingly. What follows are the reasons for choosing […]

Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

[…]and keeping accurate records to enable us to see at a glance our progress (see using NatBIP record card). We can then select and cull the queens that we consider don’t display the chosen traits and replace them with ones that do. We then have our colonies headed by queens we have selected. From these we can produce daughter queens […]
Read more » Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

NatBIP News No1

[…]Card and instruction sheet. This will also be available in the NatBIP GUIDE on the BIBBA website. Record Card The card can be printed out on A4 paper, one for each colony. It is convenient to punch holes and store in a ring binder for use in the apiary, at each inspection. Some use it as a management record as […]

NatBIP News No6

[…]for them. It was really useful to keep a detailed record of our queen lifecycle. We used the record card from BIBBA. If our predictions were accurate, we were looking to see a new queen emerging in a couple of days’ time. We think the queens emerged a day early. It was at the weekend when they decided to emerge […]

Let’s Go Beekeeping!

[…]National Beehive Brood Box and Super: Roger's Way! Assembling a National British Standard Brood Frame for a Bee Hive (DN1) The Roger Patterson Way! Introducing a Protected Queen Cell into a Colony Load […]

NatBIP News No8

[…]there is always room for beekeepers to submit useful tips, techniques, and ideas. The 2022 NatBIP Record Card is available for download for your use so that you can continuously assess the qualities of your bees, essential for choosing which queens to produce offspring from. Also it can freely be altered to suit your own requirements and allow you to […]

A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

[…]I found that none of the donor colonies actually had a white queen.  Further analysis of my records revealed that a nearby colony that had a clipped white queen had swarmed a few days previously.  It seems that on attempting to fly, the clipped queen had fallen to the ground and then crawled about 3-4 meters to the double nucleus, […]
Read more » A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei


[…]left by Beo. This sets out the management techniques developed by Beo based on observation and recording, and contains a wealth of information on many aspects of the craft that is rarely mentioned in other publications.Beo Cooper died suddenly in 1982, but he left behind an organisation that has continued with policies formed at its inception. As BIBBA attracted members […]


[…]through the eyes of biologist Randy Oliver: “this site is a record of my learning process as I try to understand aspects of colony health and productivity, and the reasons why various management techniques work (or don’t)” NBU- National Bee Unit – BeeBase BeeBase is the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) National Bee Unit website providing information for beekeepers […]

Brian Dennis

[…]the County Bee Instructor George Sommerville, an early member of BIBBA. I eventually purchased a hive & bees from a specialist in flea biology! The bees were excellent, although I did not realize this at the time. My interest in bees & beekeeping increased to total involvement. I obtained the BBKA Certificate in Apiculture under the guidance of Adrian Waring […]


[…]Committee meetings together with an agenda of the business to be conducted thereat. The attendance record of all members at Central Committee meetings shall be recorded in the Annual Report. Executive members are not empowered to appoint deputies to the Central Committee. No employee of the Association shall be a member of the Central Committee but they may be invited […]

Bee Improvement and Bee Breeding Groups

[…]and experience.A local group can pool expertise of different disciplines… honey bee management, record keeping, queen rearing, equipment making, administration, etc. More beekeepers means there are more colonies to select material from and to provide good quality drones, as well as maximising the number of colonies under management, evaluation and study.Groups can liaise with one another and with scientific institutions if […]

Jutland Visit

[…]being done by his lady friend who is also from Lithuania. He also has standard polystyrene hives stacked up ready for the honey flow. After a feast prepared by his mother, we drove over the heather moors where ancient Juniper bushes grew. Our non-beekeeping partners had an interesting trip up the coast visiting the St George museum, this was the […]

Laesoe 2004

[…]of the long-term history of bees in Northern Europe. The forests in which honey hunting and log hive beekeeping were practised in prehistoric times were in many areas cleared and replaced by heather moors (as on Laeso). Thus log hives were replaced by skeps, and heather/skep management favoured swarmy bees – which were actually imported into Sweden from at least […]

Native Honey Bees

[…]in particular, meaning they can wait longer between cleansing flights, rather than soil the hive and possibly spread disease. Despite the odd report of Apiary Vicinity Mating (AVM) being observed in other races, it is thought that only Amm are capable of performing this useful function on a regular basis. If correct, it may suggest that some of the problems […]

John Harding Queen Rearing

[…]central nucleus is permanently queenless and is where the queen cells are raised. All my nucleus hives have a 68mm hole drilled through the roof, which is the same size as the standard screw top honey jar. If you use any other size then adjust accordingly. This is ideal for a quick feed with a few holes punched in the […]

Downloads Old

[…]form is based on the Galtee Bee Breeding Group’s ten column method of recording developed by Micheál Mac Giolla Coda  Tom Robinson’s Table  Download  This Microsoft Excel file was written by Angus Stokes and Albert Knight and provides an interactive way to prepare timetables for using the Jenter or Cupkit Cellplug Box. The original table written in 1995, but it has […]

A Native Dark Bee Project

[…]No other beekeepers/feral colonies were known to be in the area at that time and drone-free mating hives housing virgins were set up as a test, as no successful mating was achieved a number of hives were established on the reserve. New queens were successfully grafted, mated and reared from more brood retrieved from the source apiary and these virgins […]


[…]method: Direct debit – this makes life easier for you and the treasurer! Sign up online using GoCardless and we will take your subscription each year until you cancel. (Sorry, this system does not allow paper applications) PayPal – if you do not already have an account you will have the option to either create one or simply pay with […]

Improving bees by raising your own queens

[…]colonies and deciding which to raise queens from and which to replace. Selection criteria. Recording. Working with other beekeepers. Setting up and running a bee improvement facility. Equipment required - buying, making, improvising or modifying. Drone production. Q/C distribution. Queen introduction. Mating control. Some of the myths of bee improvement and queen rearing. Experience shows that each course is different, […]


[…]are close to ling heather, others to OSR, thus minimising the stress to man and bees of moving hives while giving a selection of honeys. With her partner Paul, Camlad Apiaries is run as a small, sustainable business supplying health food shops, delicatessens, village shops, and the most northerly castle in the UK. Trisha is a BBKA Master Beekeeper, Project Manager with […]

Bacteria Help Honey Bee Larvae

[…]that distinguish flower-living Acetobacteraceae from those that have coevolved with the honey bee hive. Pinpointing these ecological differences will be key to understanding the function of P. apium in honey bee hives,” says Anderson. With minimal sampling effort, P. apium was found in nearly every one of the healthy managed bee colonies examined by the researchers. A future study will […]