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Let’s Go Beekeeping!

Let's Go BEEKEEPING Let's Go Beekeeping is a series of practical beekeeping videos that are there to help beekeepers keep, understand, and manage their bees better. Presented by Roger Patterson, this series of videos draws on half a century of practical beekeeping knowledge. During August 2021, I was fortunate enough to film with Roger in his natural environment down in…

BIBBA Monthly January 2022

Jo Widdicombe-BBKA trustee Let's Go Beekeeping Why do bees rear so many drones? Lune Valley webinar

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WEBINARS An Introduction to Lune Valley Community Beekeepers Dr Fred J Ayres 25th January 7.30pm MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL current members can renew here 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…

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

Why the production of a large number of drones is the inevitable consequence of the free mating of queens in drone congregations; and why this proliferation of drones is a key factor in ensuring the adaptability and resilience of the honey bee through the ages.

BIBBA Monthly – December 2021

Important changes to the membership system January webinars: Small scale queen rearing Wax production and replacing old comb

Home5

The National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP) ihas 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…

Home3a

The National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP) ihas 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…

BIBBA YouTube Videos

All the videos on the list below are recordings of presentations that have been organised by BIBBA. They have been arranged into groups under headings to help viewers see what may be suitable for them. The list will be expanded when new videos are produced. All videos have good sound information that is suitable for beekeepers in the British Islands…

BIBBA Monthly – November 2021

What is BIBBA for? Will the Irish Republic Ban Honey Bee Imports? BIBBA & the Welsh BKA book: The Native Irish Honey Bee Sandringham Native Bee Project National Honey Show 2021 review

Sandringham Report 2021

Sandringham Native Bee Project One of BIBBA’s Members, Eric Marshall, approached the Trustees to see if they would support a project to breed and rear native bees. Eric lives close to the Royal Sandringham Estate and it has been a key aim of BIBBA to develop a Special Apiary Project at Sandringham that would fit in with HRH the Prince…

new queen

Daughter queen from the project

BIBBA Books

Beekeeping: Challenge what you are told! "Have you ever met a beekeeper with fixed opinions about a beekeeping topic? Have you questioned that experience and knowledge they are based on? The craft used to be local, traditionally learnt by observing bees, whereas today, we are bombarded with international communications, promotions, soundbites, sensationalism and the like, with the same information, whether…

The Native Irish Honey Bee

The Native Irish Honey Bee Apis mellifera mellifera Launched on the 18th September by our close friends and colleagues in Ireland, this book will become a ‘go to’ source of information not just for beekeepers in the island of Ireland but for all beekeepers who keep Amm bees or who want to know more. It covers all the essentials: What…

Lune Valley New Breeding Apiary

OUR NEW BREEDING APIARY Dr Fred J Ayres, Chair of Trustees, Lune Valley Community Beekeepers Lune Valley Community Beekeepers was founded in June 2016 by a small group of beekeepers who wanted to engage in more bee-centric rather than beekeeper-centric approaches to beekeeping, and adopt a focus on improving the environment for bees rather than producing honey. These approaches included:…

NatBIP News No 7

It is said that the duty of a gardener (and indeed, a farmer) is to leave the soil in better heart than it was found. As for beekeepers, the same could be said about our bees. It is good to leave better quality bees what than we started with. This could mean more ‘hardy’, ‘pest and disease resistant’, ‘good-tempered’ and…

BIBBA Monthly – Sept 2021

Roger Patterson: A review of BIBBA over the past year Call for someone with insurance expertise Planned publications The Teaching Apiary Peter Jenkins Thoughts on Beehives

NatBIP News No6

This month Jo gives us his musings on long-term bee improvement as well as answering the question, are queen larvae selected by the beekeeper as good as those selected by the bees? Ashbrow school report their successes in queen rearing- if 10year olds can do it, can't you?

NatBIP News No4

Sustainable beekeeping: Local adaptation and the native sub-species DEFRA’s response to the 10,000+ signatories opposed to the import of package bees, through the loophole of trade between Northern Ireland and Britain, has just been announced. It seems they have gone back on their assurances, made in February, that only queens, and not packages of bees, can be imported from Europe.…

East Midlands 1998

Use of plastic foundation in the Apidea mini-nucs Use of Syrup instead of candy in Mini-nucs Use of cut comb containers for candy Grafting using a magnifier and torch Preparation of cell raising colonies Use of a cell transporter Use of an incubator for hatching queen cells

BIBBA Monthly – April 2021

At the recent BIBBA AGM BIBBA gets a makeover How training and information sources for beekeepers and beefarmers can be improved From the President East Midlands 1998 Extra webinars for Season Four – Spring 2021 Will you have Queens or Nucs for Sale?

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 No3

Introduction - Liz Childerley, BIBBA Publicity Officer Photo by kind permission of Roger Patterson As we put this NatBIP News edition together, we are forecast near-Mediterranean weather across most parts of the UK, and more importantly for beekeepers, quite a sustained period of warmth over several days.  Perhaps these are the right conditions to finally get inside the hive and…

NatBIP News No2

Signs of increase It seems we really are on to something with NatBIP - since its launch we now have over 3000 supporters. In addition, BIBBA has increased its membership by nearly fifty percent in the last 12 months. The feedback we have received from supporters and members has been amazing and we are so encouraged by your stories. One…

Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

As we progress through the NatBIP programme to improve our bee stocks it pays to give some thought to how we are going to consolidate any improvements we may have gained through our efforts to establish our selected strain. We have been monitoring our colonies and keeping accurate records to enable us to see at a glance our progress (see…
Read more » Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

Section 7.1 – The Mating of Queens

The Mating of Queens - Use of nucs, mini-nucs and mini+ nucs Whether you are using natural queen cells, emergency queen cells, grafted queen cells or cells produced from larval transfer kits (such as Jenter or Cupkit), the next step in the process is finding a home for the queen cell or virgin queen so that she can go on…

Section 5.1 – Queen Rearing Methods

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 way to learn is…

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

Colony Record Card - NatBIP 1 How to use This card is designed to be a multipurpose card that can be used for normal hive management as well as for bee improvement in one apiary, multiple apiaries, or in a bee improvement group. The data collected on each card is for one colony. The summaries at the end of the…
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

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…

Section 2.1 – How NatBIP will work

Participation The Programme needs to be relevant to beekeepers' needs and be able to achieve positive results for beekeepers in all circumstances. Bearing in mind the different conditions beekeepers are working in, different skill levels and experience, as well as variations in types of bee across the regions, finding common ground, may appear difficult. Rather than lay down rules of…

Section 1.3 – Participation

Participation For the National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP) to successfully fulfil its aims, we are seeking the support and participation of as many beekeepers as possible. Maximum support for the programme will result in a reduction in the demand for imported stock, as participants avoid the use of imported bees. This will allow easier progress in improving the quality of…

Webinars – Summary

Recordings of the majority of webinars are also available on our YouTube Channel Don’t forget to sign up here, for free, to learn more about our future programme. JUST STARTING 🎥 Roger Patterson - "Beekeeping: What's it all about?" This is a 1 hour presentation that gives the absolute basic information to help potential beekeepers decide if they should go…

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

Last year, I did several splits including splits of all my favourite breeder colonies in mid-August. It was a slight gamble where I live in Cheshire but the weather was fair and the outlook very similar. Roger mentioned that I was out of action from last September (2 months to get walking, a year to pass a medical to get…
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

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

Cupkit, Fakes and Annoyance

Cupkit, Fakes and Annoyance "Cupkit” is a name that is used in the U.K. and Ireland for a cell plug queen rearing system that is designed and manufactured by Nicot in France.  Elsewhere in the world it is called “Cupularve”.  As a system I like it, but I think you need to be raising a reasonable number of queens to…

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,…

BIBBA Monthly – August 2020

Webinars – Season Two Varroa – is the end nigh? NatBIP – selecting within a strain End Of Season Use For Your Mininuc Bees and Frames

News for non-members – August 2020

BIBBA News for Non-Members - August 2020 Welcome to the August News. I’ve been increasing my bee stocks this year. Some increase has been via queen rearing from my own stock, some as a very kind donation from a local BIBBA group member and some via posted mated and virgin queens from other parts of the country as part of…

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…