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National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP)

[…]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 twin 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 […]

Roger Patterson “The Patterson Unit”

[…]of the world’s most comprehensive beekeeping websites, also the lesser known Lecture Title: “The Patterson Unit” This presentation was formerly called “A New Approach”, the “Patterson Unit” came about by accident, after it appeared on the events page of a BKA website when somebody forgot the title! I devised his simple system as a way of addressing some of […]

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]Friday and Saturday On-site Accommodation Dinners Tickets now on sale from Harper Adams University Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB Enquiries to: Looking for a gift? Then visit the BIBBA bookshop at and select from these titles . . . ‘The Principles of Bee Improvement’ by Jo Widdicombe ‘The Honeybees of the British Isles’ by Beowulf A Cooper ‘The […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]be new and lightweight. We will have a selection of disposable gloves on hand for those who forget to bring some. The Team The lead tutor will be Roger Patterson. He will be supported by Kevin Lincoln and Kath Cordingley. The Venue The course will be held at “The Bee Centre” on the Samlesbury Hall estate near Preston. We are […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]be new and lightweight. We will have a selection of disposable gloves on hand for those who forget to bring some. The Team The lead tutor will be Roger Patterson. He will be supported by Kevin Lincoln and Kath Cordingley. The Venue The course will be held at “The Bee Centre” on the Samlesbury Hall estate near Preston. We are […]

Bee Improvement for All – Portishead

[…]be made using the following link (no payments accepted on the day)   course info: […]

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 […]

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. The first thing for a new […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

[…]partly due to more favourable weather conditions, but also perhaps due to a lack of initiative by UK Government and beekeeping organizations. DEFRA formed a committee in 2018, known as the “Queen Rearing Working Group”, with representatives of various beekeeping organisations in England, to investigate the possibilities of increasing home queen production in order to reduce the demand for imported […]
Read more » A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme


[…]of Irish Beekeeping Associations Comhnasc Cumann Beachairí na hÉireann This is the umbrella organisation for the County Beekeeping Associations in the Republic of Ireland, and organises the annual Gormanston Summer School UBKA – The Ulster Beekeepers’ Association UBKA is the organisation to which the Beekeeping Associations in Northern Ireland are affiliated CONBA-UK – Council of National Beekeeping Associations in the […]

Downloads Old

[…]of these files be acknowledged.  DrawWing By Adam Tofilski This newer version (0.45) is able to automatically detect all important points on a honey bee forewing and to calculate cubital index, discoidal shift and some other indices.The new version is not under GNU license any more, but it is (and will remain) free for non commercial use. The old GNU version […]

A Native Dark Bee Project

[…]computer programme Beemorph (Talbot, 2002) which can be downloaded via the BIBBA website Years 4-5 2013 – 2014 Four mother queens were used to establish breeding lines, with seasonal rotation of drone production between these lines. Morphometry plots of two colonies sampled in 2013 (Fig 2) and 2014 (Fig 3) are shown. Wing morphometry was also carried out by […]


[…]as well as his involvement with his local BKA. Roger designed his local BKA website and owns and maintains Dave Cushman’s Website Jo Widdicombe Jo lives in Cornwall but is prepared to travel if allowance is made for time and distance. Tel No…   01752 822 335   Email…  About Jo Widdicombe Member of BIBBA for approximately 25 years. Bee […]

BBOBI Group – March April 2019 Newsletter

[…]included lectures by David Evans – DWV and Varroa Timing – St Andrews Uni, and The Apiarist Blog Wally Shaw – Apicentric Beekeeping – Welsh BKA Prof Gilles Budge – CBVP – Professor of Applied Crop Science at Newcastle University George Clouston – Hive monitoring (Arnia) Bee Tradex at Stoneleigh Park, shopping opportunity and change to catch Jo Widdicombe speak on raising […]

The black bee, an increasingly rare pearl

translated from Pollinis “l’abeille noire” 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 […]


[…]will take the data generated by DrawWing and quickly display the results. BIBBA file collection There is a collection of useful Morphometric software that is as a zipped folder of several files that can be downloaded in one operation. Many of these have been created by Albert Knight on behalf of BIBBA. For technical reasons, that are due to Internet […]

Conserving black bees

[…]Adam, Brother (1983) In search of the best strains of bees. Northern Bee Books; Heb­den Bridge, UK. 199-201 Jensen Annette B. et al. Varying degrees of Apis mellifera ligustica introgression in protected populations of black honeybee, Apis mellifera mellifera, in northwest Eu­rope. Molecular Ecology 14, 93-106 (2005) Pinto Alice M. et al. Genetic Integrity of the Dark European honey bee […]

Section 5.1 – Queen Rearing Methods

Photo by Roger Patterson Queen Rearing Methods There are so many techniques of queen rearing, and so much has been written about them, that it may seem unwise to add any more. Studying too many methods can be a source of much confusion and leave one overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. Like most things in beekeeping, the best […]

Recommended YouTube Videos

There are a lot of beekeeping videos online. Some are excellent, with factual and sound information featuring good, knowledgeable and experienced beekeepers. Unfortunately there are many of dubious accuracy, giving poor advice that may be inappropriate for our conditions. As there is no vetting procedure to display educational material online, what is the inexperienced beekeeper to believe? BIBBA strongly believes […]

NatBIP News No4

[…]worldwide, on two sub-species, the Italian and the Carniolan. Beekeepers have tended to forget about the other numerous sub-species that have evolved over millennia to suit differing conditions. This genetic diversity within our bees allows us to select for the qualities that we wish to see in our bees. The article in BBKA News claims to support ‘locally adapted bees’, […]

NatBIP News No 7

[…]to our beekeeping; interestingly it is an approach which none of the mainstream beekeeping organisations (commercial or amateur) have really taken on board. The agricultural industry is currently looking at more sustainable methods of food production and beekeeping should move in the same direction. The BIBBA View Bob Flowerdew © BBC BIBBA has been presenting a different view for over […]

August 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]breeds and fits in with HRH the Prince of Wales’s objectives to manage the Estate as a fully organic enterprise, farming naturally and sustainably. The seeds were sown when BIBBA Trustee Nick Bentham-Green had discussions with Edward Parsons, the Sandringham Land Steward, and proposed that a similar project be run at Sandringham to that at Restormel in Cornwall. The idea […]

NatBIP News No8

[…]writes: Buckley’s Bees are looking for additional part-time beekeepers, throughout the UK, to work with our ever-growing business and enthusiastic team – people who are passionate about these fantastic creatures and the good they do in the world. In addition to genuinely making a positive environmental impact, we can provide a good additional income stream – doing what you love… […]

A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda 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. Eoghan currently […]
Read more » A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

“Bee Improvement for All” (BIFA) Days

[…]own queens from local stock and not rely on imports. “Bee Improvement for all” courses are organised by BIBBA on a nationwide basis, sometimes in conjunction with local BKAs or bee breeding groups. They are all day events, but the timings will depend on local arrangements. The very successful BIFA days were started during the winter of 2013/14, with 11 […]

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 […]

East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11

[…]away from our current local stock, so will not be introducing pure-bred queens from other UK sources that have adapted to a different environment. The occasional judicious introduction of new genetic material, from another UK source with similar conditions, may be applied when collective agreement determines so.   All those meeting together at the Group Apiary are committed to the […]

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 […]

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; to improve and propagate the native and near native honey bees. The CHIP members have formed a collective queen rearing group and are each helping other local individuals and groups […]
Read more » Cheshire Honeybee Improvement Partnership (CHIP)- CW9

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”

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

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. It makes sense […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

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

[…]closely with other bee improvement groups in Cornwall and is now looking at setting up mirror organisations in both Devon and Somerset. Manx Bee Improvement Group (MBIG). Johnny Kipps. The MBIG was formed as a sub-committee of the IoM Beekeepers Federation in early 2015 after a BIBBA “BIFA” day, led by Roger Patterson. The MBIG have begun to breed from […]
Read more » Group Presentation & Discussion “Bee improvement and bee breeding groups – some experiences and ideas”

BIPCo 6th Annual Bee Improvement Day

BIPCo would like to invite beekeepers to the 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 commencing at 9.00am for registration (9.30am start) until 3.30pm   A day for all those interested in […]

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 […]

2 Day Bee Improvement Course. Exeter, Devon.

Contact Cathy Mudge  more info Powered by […]

2 Day Bee Improvement Course: Suffolk

Improving bees by raising your own queens – course Tutor – Roger Patterson In conjunction with West Suffolk BKA and BIBBA Thursday 20 July and Friday 21 July at Nowton Park Apiary, near Bury St Edmunds. Course fee Early bird £50 if booked before 4 July the event £60 if booked on or after 4 July. Please bring your own […]

Bee Improvement For All: West Sussex

[…]Roger Patterson To book contact Daisy .uk Booking Form     more […]

Bee Improvement for All – Edinburgh

Roger Patterson of BIBBA presenting:To encourage ordinary (that’s most of us!) amateur beekeepers to assess their colonies with a view to improving their bees using criteria they set themselves, which we hope will include improved temper and suitability to the locality. Simple recording will give information on which colonies to cull and which to breed from. There is encouragement to […]

West Devon Bee Improvement Group

Mainly in the Tavistock and West Devon/Plymouth contact area Overview of aims of the Group: To demonstrate the qualities of locally-reared bees and to encourage local beekeepers to develop their own stock. Specific short-term targets: This is a group with mixed experience. We would aim to support less experienced members to: • Assess the quality of their colonies • Identify […]