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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…

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 .

Native Honey Bees

It is fairly certain that the Dark European Honey Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, has been native to mainland Britain since before the closing of the Channel Landbridge, when sea levels rose following the last Ice Age. They became isolated and adapted to the different conditions they found themselves in.

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

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…

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...

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…

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…

Controlled Mating and Hygienic Behaviour

we compared the levels of hygiene in colonies headed by daughter queens reared from hygienic mother colonies that were either instrumentally inseminated with sperm from drones reared from hygienic colonies or allowed to mate naturally with naturally-occurring drones.

Caging Virgin Queens

Comparing Alternative Methods for Holding Virgin Honey Bee Queens for One Week in Mailing Cages before Mating

University of Plymouth Project

The University of Plymouth in partnership with B4 (a community interest company: Bringing Back Black Bees) and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have started a 4 year PhD project to investigate suggestions from bee-keepers that different sub-species have a suite of different behaviours and characteristics in comparison to other sub-species, and further that these might be highly…

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?”

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 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…

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…

Pete Sutcliffe – “The hive as a processing centre”

Pete Sutcliffe has been keeping bees for over thirty years now, having started out with two home-made WBCs inherited from his father. He now works in a beekeeping team with his wife: together they keep an average of 20 colonies on various sites in the Dane Valley in Cheshire. Following his retirement, Pete put himself through the various BBKA examinations…
Read more » Pete Sutcliffe – “The hive as a processing centre”

Phil Chandler “Balanced Beekeeping: Top Bars, Eco Floors and Black Bees”

I took up beekeeping in 2000 after becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of modern agriculture on wild populations of pollinators. I started with WBC hives, but quickly became interested in more natural beekeeping systems, designing and building a number of variations of the top bar hive and experimenting with low-interference protocols. I worked at Buckfast Abbey for a year…
Read more » Phil Chandler “Balanced Beekeeping: Top Bars, Eco Floors and Black Bees”

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 47 – Autumn 2016

Queen raising – Alan Brown Burzyan wild-hive honeybees – R. A. Ilyasov, M. N. Kosarov. A. Neal, F. G. Yumaguzhin Queen rearing on the Isle of Man – John Evans The SMARTBEES project – Jo Widdicombe Conferences and Workshops – Roger Patterson Working for a better bee – Mark Edwards Polynucs – Peter Edwards QR at Keepers Cottage – Peter…

The black bee, an increasingly rare pearl

translated from Pollinis "l'abeille noire" https://www.pollinis.org/admin/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/abeille-noire-6.pdf 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…

The Dark Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in the United Kingdom

The article below is based on a lecture given by Philip Denwood to the SICAMM Conference in Landquart, Switzerland, on 1st September 2012 Articles by Dr. Dorian Pritchard,1 and by Norman Carreck2 of the Laboratory of Social Insects at Sussex, have presented the evidence, convincing in my opinion, for the immigration of the honey bee into mainland Britain across the…
Read more » The Dark Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in the United Kingdom

BIM 43 – Spring 2014

BIFA Days – Roger Patterson Moonlight Mating – Philip Denwood Pure Mating by Time Isolation – John E Dews Ownership of a Swarm – Brian Dennis Annual General Meeting Agenda – Secretary Annual Accounts – Treasurer Trustees Report – Chairman Draft Minutes – Secretary BIFA meeting in Sussex – James Norfolk Book Review – Philip Denwood Patron Saints – Brian…

BIM 42 – Winter 2013

Dark Bee Reserve – Philip Denwood BIBBA Groups News – Jo Widdicombe Whither goest thou? – Brian Dennis Are you a Natural Beekeeper? – Brian Dennis A Broader Perspective – Dorian Pritchard Honey with a Buzz – Trisha Marlow Book Review – Philip Denwood Some thoughts on Grafting – Roger Patterson Honey Bee Improvement – John E Dews Bee Improvement…

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…

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…

BIM 50 – Winter 2017

From the President – Jo Widdicombe 54 AGM Notice 14th April, Harper Adams B4 Press Release Mount Edgcumbe – Mark Edwards BIBBA Conference – Roger Patterson More Queen Rearing Myths – Roger Patterson Winter Losses – Beowulf Cooper SICAMM Conference – Philip Denwood Locally Adapted Bees – Dorian Pritchard Queen Assessment – Dorian Pritchard How not to Rear Queens –…

Estimating C-lineage Introgression

Conservation efforts for A. m. mellifera are underway in multiple European countries requiring reliable and cost-efficient molecular tools to identify purebred colonies. Here, we developed four ancestry-informative SNP assays for high sample throughput genotyping using the iPLEX Mass Array system.

What does BIBBA Offer?

What does BIBBA Offer?   Encouragement to form breeding groups to improve and propagate native and near native queens. Help for beekeepers to improve their bees so they suit their environment, are productive, healthy and gentle to handle. Encouragement to raise queens from local stock. Provision of relevant information and methods. Demonstrations and workshops on practical subjects, such as colony…

East of England Bee Improvement Groups

An opportunity to meet beekeepers from around the region to discuss Bee Improvement and queen rearing.Presentations on: Starting and Organising a Bee Improvement Group - Equipment needed, raising finance, running a group. Selecting Stock for propagation - natural and beekeeper selection. The importance of Drones - selecting and positioning. Starter colonies, set up and maintenance Support colonies - you need…

I Want Bees

Which is the Best Bee? 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…

Membership Application

What does BIBBA Offer? Encouragement to form breeding groups to improve and propagate native and near native queens.Help for beekeepers to improve their bees so they suit their environment, are productive, healthy and gentle to handle.Encouragement to raise queens from local stock.Provision of relevant information and methods.Demonstrations and workshops on practical subjects, such as colony assessment and queen rearing.Publications and…

BIM Index Issues 1-25

Bee Improvement Magazine: subject index. Issues 1-25 to search the index type Ctrl+f (Cmd+f on Mac) to open search box Africa Beekman, Dr. Madeleine "The Cape invaders." 9, 12 Allergies Tarzi, Dr. M. D. "Allergy to hymenoptera venom." 9, 8 Apis mellifera mellifera Burry, Harris "Conserving biodiversity in the dark European honey bee." 2, 8 Crudgington, Dr. H.G. "Hygienic behaviour…

NatBIP – May 2020

BIBBA’s Proposal for a National Bee Improvement Programme In January BIBBA published a document outlining its proposal for a national bee improvement programme. This document is available to be viewed on the BIBBA website. It was written with a view to informing other beekeeping associations of our plans and inviting them to contribute to the finer details of the programme.…

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

News

The National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP) The National Bee Improvement Programme is intended to provide a platform for the sustainable improvement in the quality of our honey bees. In recent years imports of bees into the UK have continued to increase, mostly of non-native European sub-species. Ireland has also experienced a steady, but more modest, increase in imports. Many beekeepers…

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…

News for Non-Members July 2020

Welcome to BIBBA News for Non-Members – July 2020 Table Of ContentsBeo Cooper's book:NatBIP UpdateSelecting our Breeder Queens It’s been a busy month with the beekeeping amongst the variable weather and I hope many of you have had a go at making new colonies. The picture here is from a delighted host for a couple of my new colonies. It’s…

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…

Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

For myself and my local association, Wisborough Green BKA (WGBKA) in West Sussex, where I am Apiary Manager, I usually produce at least 100 queens per year. This is mainly to replace poorer queens in honey producing colonies, provide queens to head nucs for new beekeepers and for members who need queens for a variety of reasons. We try to…
Read more » Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

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,…

Welcome to the October BM Newsletter by Karl Colyer

Welcome to the October Newsletter. I try to help new beekeepers on their beekeeping journey. I have somewhat ‘adopted’ a couple of first year beekeepers who bought Buckfast nucs this year and then contacted me for help. One had two colonies on commercial frames. Both colonies swarmed in June. The new queens have since mated and one of the colonies…
Read more » Welcome to the October BM Newsletter by Karl Colyer