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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 subspecies of the honey bee by:
a) Morphological characters, including colour, size, wing venation, abdominal hair length;
b) Genetic characters identifiable by DNA analysis;
c) Behavioural characters, including colony size and development, longevity, pollen collection.

The indigenous range of Apis mellifera mellifera stretches from the Atlantic seaboard of Norway, Britain, Ireland and France eastward across Western, Northern and Central Europe north of the Alps and Carpathians to the Urals and beyond.
British Black Bee

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 ... Read More

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 ... Read More

The natural range of A.m.m. coincides with the 15-20° zone. (Copyright D.J.Pritchard).