The National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP) has been launched in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This is an initiative organised by the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders’ Association (BIBBA), with the aims of reducing the number of imports of honey bees into Britain, Ireland and associated islands* and of improving the quality of our honey bees. This Programme aims to provide a way forward to a stable and sustainable future for our beekeeping.
A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme
If, as an alternative to the importation of queens, we established a National Bee Improvement Programme which selected and propagated the best local bees, a good reason could then be made for not using imported bees. Beekeepers would benefit in two ways, that is, in a reduction in the biosecurity risks associated with imports, and through the opportunity of supporting and participating in a project that could deliver a better-quality bee. Taking part in a scheme to sustainably improve our bees would provide a definite reason to refrain from the use of imported bees.
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 of sub-species makes the selection and improvement of our stock more difficult.
BIBBA has developed a strategy document titled “National Bee Improvement Programme” and is soliciting interest, support and feedback from other stakeholder organisations, groups and beekeepers for a national approach to selecting and improving a locally adapted bee population. The aim is to reduce the health risks posed by imports whilst at the same time improving the quality of our bees for everyone.
Cheshire Honeybee Improvement Partnership (CHIP)- CW9
Formed in 2016 by a group of Cheshire-based BIBBA members to help form local queen rearing groups to aid the improvement of local bees and support the objectives of BIBBA
Cornwall Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Group – TR1
Cornwall Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Group working with dark bees and varroa tolerance
East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11
The aim of the BIBBA East Midlands Bee Improvement Group is to breed near native Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm) queens of the best local genetic stock.
“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 .
Queen Rearing and Bee Improvement Courses
BIBBA are committed to helping beekeepers to improve their bees and those of the surrounding area, by raising queens from their better colonies and culling the poorer ones. Bee Improvement should be of interest to all beekeepers and for a number of reasons including temper, quietness on the combs and…
Honeybee improvement in a nutshell
Wharfdale Valley Bee Improvement Group-LS21
Operating in the Wharfedale valley we aim to breed a locally adapted bee for the unique weather we have within the area.