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BIBBA Open Day. Lampeter.

[…]be presentations and demonstrations on a number of topics including:- Colony handling techniques How to assess colonies for behaviour Setting simple criteria for what you want in your bees Raising queens by simple methods (the bees often do it for you!) Making up and maintaining nuclei Introducing queens and queen cells Cost: £18/head before 13th June, £20 afterwards. Includes refreshments […]

BIBBA Open Day – Improve Your Bees

[…]live colonies on topics such as:- Colony handling, assessment and recording Methods of raising queen cells Making up and managing standard frame nuclei, queen and cell introduction Cell raising methods – queenless colony – queenright colony – cell starter, […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]specialist equipment. Topics covered will include: Setting the criteria you want in your bees. How to handle, assess and record colonies. Deciding which colonies to use queen cells from and which queens to cull. Using natural queen cells the bees build. Producing “Artificial” queen cell using grafting, cell punching, cell plugs and the Miller method Clipping and marking queens Changing […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]specialist equipment. Topics covered will include: Setting the criteria you want in your bees. How to handle, assess and record colonies. Deciding which colonies to use queen cells from and which queens to cull. Using natural queen cells the bees build. Producing “Artificial” queen cell using grafting, cell punching, cell plugs and the Miller method Clipping and marking queens Changing […]

Countryfile – on the Rame Peninsula

[…]that I was keen to get my message across and we reached agreement on what questions I was to be asked. I showed them the apiary where the filming was to be done; it is in a scenic spot; the hives look quite smart and the bees are virtually all ‘black’ and mostly docile. Things looked quite promising. On the […]

BIBBA Conference 2018

[…]variety of topics, all relevant to those who are relatively inexperienced, but are eager to learn how to keep their bees with care and understanding and develop their management system. All speakers in this group have been asked to explain their topics in a manner that fairly inexperienced beekeepers can understand. In addition there will be seminars and workshops. About […]


[…]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 is […]

Beekeepers come swarming to the Sustainability days

[…]factors to consider for bee improvement Getting queen cells and two framed nucs set up How to get up to 11 colonies in one season Roger frequently signposted attendees to the Dave Cushman website ( for more detail or information on the subject areas he was talking through. Overall, a fantastic attendance across the country and, hopefully, plenty of individuals, […]
Read more » Beekeepers come swarming to the Sustainability days

Lester Wickham

[…]own. I know that since the AGM Lester has been gradually handing over the job of Treasurer to Tom Robinson, and this was finalised at a meeting in August. We took the opportunity to make a presentation to Lester privately funded by Committee members of a Whisky decanter and glasses together with a bottle of fine Scotch and a commemorative […]

Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

[…]the short to medium term, we wish to breed local adapted dark bees of the best genetic stock and to make these available to local beekeepers interested in establishing the sub species in their apiaries. We want to focus on temperament in the short term, with the aim of introducing other traits such as productivity, low swarminess and hygienic behaviour […]
Read more » Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

[…]of the reasons for importing stock and to find out more about beekeepers’ attitudes to queen rearing. The DEFRA committee concluded that some of the reasons that beekeepers have for imports were as follows:• Queens are readily available• Queens can be produced more cheaply than in UK• Queens are available earlier in the season• Queens are regarded as of better […]
Read more » A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

NatBIP – May 2020

[…]range of beekeepers, not just BIBBA members. It is important to view it as a long-term project and to make it flexible so that it can be constantly modified and updated and kept relevant to current situation and events facing beekeepers. It will provide a framework for a better more sustainable future for beekeeping in this country, something never attempted […]

Conserving black bees

[…]a problem, apart from disfiguring cut comb sections. I have noticed large numbers of lice transfer to queens in late autumn. Nurse bees are no longer feeding brood and perhaps the queen becomes the main source of mouth-to-mouth feed transfer, from which the louse can steal a meal. Mother and daughter together on comb Conclusion. As I write this in […]

Cupkit, Fakes and Annoyance

[…]are usually fixed onto a bar in a frame and placed in a colony that is set up to convert them into queen cells. I use it both as a complete system, and with the cup and holders only, but I graft into them.  Many other beekeepers do the same, preferring them to some of the other dedicated cups that […]

Section 2.1 – How NatBIP will work

[…]selection and improvement more difficult. Ultimately, we would like participants in the Programme to make their own decisions regarding what characteristics they select for, and how they achieve this. Variations in environmental conditions and in the qualities of the available stock in different regions mean that decisions regarding the running of the Programme are best made locally. The NatBIP Guide, […]

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

[…]about 2.75 lb If 10 frames in a super. Full National super about 28lbs. Round up or down according to how well filled each frame is. If using different size frames, weigh them to be accurate or work out own estimating system. Amount Fed. In this column, enter any feed given with quantity and date of feed in preferred units. […]
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

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 […]

NatBIP News No 7

[…]this message for years but detractors either do not believe it possible for ordinary beekeepers to make improvements, or they believe it just takes too much time and effort to make a difference. It is up to BIBBA members and NatBIP supporters to show that we can improve the quality of our bees in a sustainable manner. This approach should […]

Lune Valley New Breeding Apiary

[…]will hold around 30 cars when we can persuade people to park tidily. Another of our objectives was to make beekeeping as accessible as possible for disabled people in wheelchairs. To this end we raised sufficient funds to ensure that our training apiary was set up on a solid base which provided all-weather access for wheelchair users. We also developed […]


[…]has been involved with his local BKA teaching apiary since 1967 and managed it for around 15 years to show practical beekeeping, provide bees to local beekeepers and to reproduce colony scenarios for training new and experienced beekeepers alike. This book brings together a range of challenges and opportunities that almost all apiaries will encounter and the contents suggest some […]

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

[…]If we assume that a colony produces on average 2.5 swarms in a season**, and therefore 2.5 virgin queens to be mated - and if we, again for simplicity, take it that a queen will mate with say twelve drones on average, then it follows that, on average, only some 30 drones from a typical colony give up their lives […]

BOBBI Spring 2022 Newsletter

[…]5 by 5 British National brood boxes which will have additional 5 frame brood boxes added above, to make 2 story 10 frame hives. AMM Nucs and Queens for saleThis set up allows use to bring on the queens into full lay and to assess their performance.  It allows us to sell 5 frame nucs or mated queens.  We can […]

June 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]art, queen-rearing is an important part of beekeeping, and every beekeeper should have access to queens of particular characteristics that they have raised themselves. I think the secret to queen rearing is not to give up after the first attempt but to keep trying; eventually, it will work. Queen-rearing also works well in a group situation, with a few beekeepers […]

Queen Rearing Timetable

[…]a bit of tweaking it can be used for other methods of cell raising. Download Excel spreadsheet of Tom’s Table: […]

Bee Breeding and Queen Rearing Courses UK

[…]help and encourage beekeepers to raise their own queens from locally adapted colonies, rather than to use imported queens that may not suit their environment, or run the risk of importing pests and diseases. BIBBA Open Days Bee Improvement For All (BIFA) days One and two day Bee Improvement Courses If you would like an event in your area, either […]

Surrey Hills Queen Rearing – GU1

[…]breeding from local stock without importing any bees or queens. Promoting this approach we hope to encourage other beekers to do the same. contact Sarah Rowlands […]


[…]discretion acting through the Central Committee and without having to give a reason, refuse to admit to membership any applicant whom they shall consider not to be a fit and proper person to be so admitted. 7. Membership application. Application for membership shall be made in a manner approved by the Central Committee. 8. Undertaking to observe rules. Every applicant […]

Roger Patterson

[…]prolific lecturer, demonstrator and writer, being author of books, booklets and a regular contributor to the bee press. Roger now owns and maintains Dave Cushman’s website, that is widely recognised as one of the world’s most comprehensive beekeeping websites. He is the author of “Beekeeping. A Practical Guide”. He is a past BBKA Trustee and is Vice President of Bee Diseases […]

BIFA feedback

[…]appalling weather, though, we had an extremely good turnout. Out of 140 bookings only 27 failed to make it, demonstrating a certain level of faith, because the snow continued to fall for most of the day, and it’s one thing to get there, but quite another to be sure of getting home again!   So the day started. Roger Patterson, […]

Bee Improvement and Bee Breeding Groups

[…]store personal data, are you GDPR compliant? What assessment criteria do you want in your bees? How are you going to operate? Do you need funding? Can you combine with a local BKA? You may already have the expertise, but if not, then BIBBA can offer help and tuition, perhaps from other groups or experienced individuals. We ask only that […]

Jutland Visit

[…]home farm, which previously belonged to his grandfather. The premises are large with space to store equipment and process honey for 2000 colonies, all on standard Dadant equipment. His hives and indeed all the equipment we saw in Denmark are made of polystyrene are neatly stacked and contain frames with new foundation. All old frames are stripped and cleaned with […]

Native Honey Bees

[…]I believe this is a significant benefit during long spells of confinement. The old writers used to make a big issue of “pollen clogged combs” as if they were something to avoid, but we now know much more about the nutritional benefits of pollen. In the 12 months April 2012-April 2013 in the U.K colonies were in a poor state. […]

Terry Hitchman

[…]member of BIBBA for approximately 20 years. He purchased his first Apis mellifera mellifera virgin queen at the East Midlands bee breeding group’s Locko Park open day in 1992 and now has 25 colonies of native or near native bees. He has been a member of the Stratford-upon-Avon Beekeepers’ Association committee for 19 years, Chairman for 10 years and, together […]

What is Apis mellifera mellifera?

[…]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 […]

Colonsay a honey bee haven

[…]disease. The Bee Keeping (Colonsay and Oronsay) Order 2013 comes into force on 1 January and will make it an offence to keep any honeybees on the islands except Apis mellifera mellifera, whose hardiness allows them to survive the harsh climate of Scotland’s west coast. Beekeeper Andrew Abrahams has campaigned for the islands to be recognised as a sanctuary for […]

East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11

[…]species in their own apiaries.   During the Summer of 2020 the Group moved its apiary from Thrumpton to the village of Langar in the Vale of Belvoir, Nottinghamshire. The location has been chosen for its diverse forage, capability to accommodate our full operation on one site, and flexibility to place our drone colonies around an extensive estate. Whilst in […]

Galtee Bee Breeding Group

[…]colonies that had come through the past two swarmy seasons without attempting to swarm. The ancestors of these queens had been selected for the combined traits of supersedure, longevity, docility and productivity. GBBG holds a variety of activities throughout the year such as outdoor demonstrations on colony evaluation and recording, queen rearing workshops, and a winter discussion and study group. […]

Nick Mawby

Membership/WebsiteDeputy Chair Nick Mawby has kept bees since 1977.  He has managed a queen rearing group in Leek, Staffs for 30 years; this group became the association teaching apiary but is now refocusing again on queen rearing.He is chairman and webmaster of North Staffs Beekeepers Association. When not beekeeping, Nick will take off in his campervan. For any comments regarding […]