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Local bees better than imports

locally adapted strains of honey bee consistently performed better than the “foreign” strains. Honey bee genotypes and the environment In recent years, much attention has been focused on the global problem of honey bee colony losses. Among the many explanations for these losses, variability in the genetic makeup and vitality of honey bee populations might help to explain some of…

Where do I find out about local groups or get support to start one?

BIBBA encourages members to set up local queen rearing groups.  click to see active groups here If you are already breeding or rearing queens with the aim of selecting for native traits but have not registered as a group we would be pleased if you would consider registering by contacting either the groups coordinator or the web master. If there…
Read more » Where do I find out about local groups or get support to start one?

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…

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.

Links

Dave Cushman's Website Several thousand pages of beekeeping and bee breeding information. Considered to be one of the world's most informative beekeeping websites. ScientificBeekeeping.com Beekeeping 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…

The Honeybees of the British Isles

mellifera) and covers their characteristics, supersedure, management, breeding, selection and mating behaviour, including an explanation of apiary vicinity mating and the formation of drone assemblies.

Honey bee conservation

In order to compensate the dramatic losses of honeybee colonies that we see globally for many years now, beekeepers try to restore their apiaries by importing colonies or queens in the hopes that those survive better than their previous bees. Such imports increase the level of introgression with local honeybee populations in which genetic variability is geographically highly structured. In…

Brian Dennis

In 1976 I attended a beginners’ beekeeping course at the local Agricultural College. The course was run by 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 &…

Constitution-2008

Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders' Association Constitution Adopted at the Annual General Meeting 20th April 2008. 1. Commencement. This Constitution shall operate immediately upon adoption and shall supersede all Constitutions previously in force. 2. Name. The name of the Association shall be the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders' Association (BIBBA), hereinafter called the Association. 3. Objectives. The objectives of the…

Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

Finding queens in Spring, and marking and clipping them whenever necessary, has become an integral part of my seasonal beekeeping programme. Advice from Micheál Mac Giolla Coda

“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 .

BIFA feedback

The Bibba “Bee Improvement for All” Workshopx A few months ago, one of our Committee members, Dave Barrett, came to me and said, “I think we should do this BIBBA One Day Course – I’ll organise it all.” “Great idea”, I said. So Dave booked the date with BIBBA, he booked a suitable hall, he got our Education Officer to…

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…

Jutland Visit

Report On Visit To Jutland Report by Tom Robinson This is an account of The British Bee Farmers Associations Spring meeting to West Jutland, Denmark in the spring of 2003. On Thursday 13 March we flew from Standsted to Esbjerg taking the bus to Rinkobing Fjord to stay in our base of the Hotel Fjordgarden where David Ashton, who is…

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 Dew’s Views – the Best Bee

There is a tendency amongst some beekeepers to believe that the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence”, that imported bees are superior to the indigenous bee

Kevin Lincoln

Past Chairman, Sales, Show & Archives Kevin has been involved with bees since 1973 when he helped his Polish father-in-law with his bees. Needing to know more about the problems bees were facing, he took retirement and started keeping bees at his home during 2004. Having joined the education group of his local society, he now helps the new beekeepers…

Terry Hitchman

Terry lives in South Warwickshire in a village near Stratford-upon-Avon. He is a self employed builder with a farming background and his hobbies are beekeeping, farming and horses. Terry has 35 years experience in beekeeping and has been a member of BIBBA for approximately 20 years. He purchased his first Apis mellifera mellifera virgin queen at the East Midlands bee…

What is Apis mellifera mellifera?

What is Apis mellifera mellifera? Apis mellifera mellifera, Linnaeus 1758 is a subspecies and northern geographical race of Apis mellifera, the western honeybee. It may be subdivided into many local ecotypes. Its various vernacular names include: “Dark European Honeybee” (English), “L’abeille noire” (French), “Die dunkle Biene” (German) and “Det mörka Nordiska Biet” (Swedish). Apis mellifera mellifera is distinguished from other…

A Native Dark Bee Project

Margie Ramsay reports on a project reintroducing A.m.m. to a reserve in Scotland. Update July 2015 In 1905, just before the First World War there was a 20 year long bee plague called Isle of Wight disease which was considered by many, including bee breeder Brother Adam, to have eradicated the native subspecies of dark European honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera…

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.…
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Improving bees by raising your own queens – one and two day courses

The improvement of bees is an important part of beekeeping. The suitability of bees to the environment and their temper are issues that concern the caring beekeeper, but are not often included in tuition. This course will cover many of the topics and techniques that will suit the "ordinary" beekeeper, with a large practical element
Read more » Improving bees by raising your own queens – one and two day courses

Lecturers

Beekeeping Lecturers The following list of lecturers and demonstrators is intended to help event organisers plan their programme. All of them support the aims of BIBBA, but BIBBA are unable to verify their knowledge, ability or suitability to your requirements. Please make arrangements directly with the speaker. Roger Patterson Roger Lives in West Sussex and will travel any distance. Tel…

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…

Sheffield Rivelin Bee Breeding Group – S6

Working towards selective breeding of local bees. contact Phil Khorassandjian

Stiperstones & Long Mynd Area Bee Breeders – SY15

SLABB [Stiperstones & Long Mynd Area Bee Breeders] is based in mid Shropshire/adjacent Welsh Marches. Core activities centre around selective breeding from the best near-native bees and local bees showing native characteristics and behaviours, hence improving thrift, robustness and temperament. Happy to work collaboratively with individuals or other small groups in the area who share our aims. We use grafting…
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Dark Bee Conservation Group – WF5

West Yorkshire group aiming to promote and improve the local bee whilst preserving the natural honey bee diversity, reduce colony losses and reduce the dependence on therapeutic and chemical treatments. contact Stuart Atkinson

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…

Join a Group

BIBBA are encouraging beekeepers to join together to form groups. If you are already running a Bee Improvement group working towards raising local queens or improving Apis melifera melifera stocks, or if you wish to start and organise such a group, please complete this form: https://goo.gl/forms/6784oVS9LLoV7PAO2 If you do not feel able to set up a group yourself but would…

Events

BIBBA are committed to helping beekeepers to improve their bees in a number of ways, including courses, workshops, demonstrations, lectures and conferences. These will be in line with the aims of BIBBA, with the emphasis on native bees and those displaying their characteristics (termed "near native"). Events are of different duration and can take a number of forms, both with…

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…

Lune Queens and Bees-LA1

New group formed in North Lancashire Selective breeding and bee improvement for the local area based on AMM. Email Kevin:

Roger Patterson “The Patterson Unit”

Roger is a practical beekeeper who started beekeeping in West Sussex in 1963. He is heavily involved in the craft, being a demonstrator at his local BKA since the early 1970s and manager of their teaching apiary. He had a full term as BBKA Trustee, is currently a BIBBA Trustee and Vice President of Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI). He…

AGM 2016

09.30         Coffee & biscuits10.00         Welcome from PresidentSpeaker: Sue Loughran, Bangor University, Wales.11.30          Annual General Meeting Trustees Report & Accounts Now Online Sue Loughran "A Tempero Spatial Analysis of Bee Races in North Wales" I live in hill farming country in North West Wales, near the village of Llanfairtalhaiarn, Abergele. Originally from Liverpool, I moved to Wales in 2001, where I…

Michael Maunsell “The Drone – More to its life than we may think?”

I am a retired mathematics and physics teacher. I began beekeeping in the early 1970s when I was approached by a local farmer to rescue bees from a dangerous hollow tree that overhung the road between my house and his land. There followed a short intense period of study of beekeeping and carpentry to make a suitable home for my…
Read more » Michael Maunsell “The Drone – More to its life than we may think?”

Margaret Murdin “Bee Genetics Explained” – “Understanding the Queen”

Margaret has been keeping bees for about 12 years and is a practical beekeeper who learnt her skills as a member of the Ormskirk and Croston Branch of the Lancashire Association. She is a member of BIBBA and keeps bees that are well adapted to the local area. She currently has 20 colonies across 3 apiaries and is interested in…
Read more » Margaret Murdin “Bee Genetics Explained” – “Understanding the Queen”

Mike Saunders “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders”

Professional engineer. Keeping bees since 2006. Helped two very experienced beekeepers for 2 years trying to improve bees by small-scale rearing of first-cross Carniolan queens. In 2009 switched to using "nearish-native" native bees, and since then has been studying the native bee and the science of bee breeding. In 2010 started a local Group using selective breeding of the "nearish-native"…
Read more » Mike Saunders “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders”

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…

Why does BIBBA advise buying bees and queens locally?

Conditions can vary considerably even over a relatively short distance. An example is that one area may have oil seed rape as the main nectar source, yet only a few miles away it might be heather. The former needs a bee that builds up much earlier in the season than the latter. Adaptation takes a little time to achieve. Local
Read more » Why does BIBBA advise buying bees and queens locally?

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…

What is BIBBA’s policy on importing bees?

BIBBA does not support the importation of honey bees as not only does it pose a health risk to our bees but importation also works against the development of local adaptation. The mixing of different sub-species  makes selection and improvement of our bees more difficult due to hybridisation and it negates the effects of ‘natural selection’ which produces a hardier…

Tony Maggs “Bee Farming with Native/Near Native Bees”

After pestering a friend of the family for many years, who was an experienced beekeeper in the Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Association, he eventually helped me to start beekeeping by taking me with him to hive a swarm. This mentor turned out to be a keen member of BIBBA, so pointed me the right direction. After five years of beekeeping, I started…
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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”

Steve Rose “My Approach to Bee Selection”

Steve keeps around 40 colonies on high ground in North Wales with Snowdonia to the West and the Berwyn mountains to the East. He finds that for bees to thrive in his locality they have to be particularly well adapted. He thus heads a breeding group which selects for native traits that are typical of the local ecotype and makes…