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Laesoe 2004

[…]into Carniolan and Italian colonies is difficult. Workers of these two latter races often build queencells even when an introduced A. m. mellifera queen is laying, and will remove her eggs from the cells. Nils Drivdal from Norway sketched out his view of the long-term history of bees in Northern Europe. The forests in which honey hunting and log hive […]

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 […]

Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

[…]in Brazil for centuries, yet failed to establish a feral population in the country. When a few queens of a tropical race from Africa were introduced into the country, in a matter of a few years feral colonies of hybrids, “africanised bees” had crossed the Amazon rain forest and moved North and South completely eliminating the European bees. The behavioural […]
Read more » Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

Downloads Old

[…]files are used by individual beekeepers and groups to help them with their bee improvement and queen rearing activities. BIBBA gives permission to freely copy any or all of these files for personal use and also pass the files to others interested in breeding honey bees. BIBBA only asks in return that the source of these files be acknowledged.  DrawWing By […]

Galtee Bee Breeding Group

[…]Northern Ireland Ministry of Agriculture has seen fit in recent years to allow the importation of queen bees under licence. These queens are imported from different part of the world and are of a variety of races. If this trend continues it can have a deleterious effect on the purity of our native bee which is the race that predominates […]

Improving bees by raising your own queens

[…]smokers or hive tools are to be used, other than those supplied. To identify stocks to raise queens from or to replace (we don't expect to kill queens!) we may place them in order of preference. This is for instructional purposes only and not to be seen as criticism of the bees kept by our hosts. Some apiaries may be […]

Colony Assessment Criteria

[…]This can be done by assessing colonies against a set of criteria that you want in your bees, using queen cells from colonies displaying those criteria and culling those that don’t. Clearly these criteria need to be something that is achievable, not something that isn’t. What beekeepers need to remember is they usually only have influence over half the parentage […]

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 […]

Genetic Identification and Introgression Analysis

Beekeeping activities, especially queen trading, have shaped the distribution of honey bee (Apis mellifera) subspecies in Europe, and have resulted in extensive introductions of two eastern European C-lineage subspecies (A. m. ligustica and A. m. carnica) into the native range of the M-lineage A. m. mellifera subspecies in Western Europe. As a consequence, replacement and gene flow between native and […]
Read more » Genetic Identification and Introgression Analysis

Methods for Rearing and Selection of Queens

[…]and quality control of mating stations. Recommendations for the handling and quality control of queens complete the queen rearing section. The improvement of colony traits usually depends on a comparative testing of colonies. Standardized recommendations for the organization of performance tests and the measurement of the most common selection characters are presented. Statistical methods and data preconditions for the estimation […]


[…]choice of subject: Conservation and Improvement of native bees including all aspects of queen rearing. Practical Demonstrations: Considerable experience in giving practical demonstrations on colony evaluation, selection for breeding and methods of queen rearing. Also morphometry and preparation of honey for show. Geoff Critchley Geoff lives in Flintshire and is prepared to travel. Tel No… 01352 740 991 Mobile… 07885 […]

Ardnamurchan Jan 2016

[…]hope for better conditions in 2016 and the successful rearing and mating of a larger number of queens. Demand for Amm queens is strong in Scotland where there is growing interest in locally-bred, native and/or well-acclimatised bees. More and more beekeepers are learning to rear their own queens or source them locally rather than import stock with the attendant risks […]

Controlled Mating and Hygienic Behaviour

[…]were encouragingly high and indicate that supplying beekeepers with naturally-mated queens, or virgin queens to mate locally, can result in colonies with high levels of hygiene. Full text pdf Keywords Apis mellifera, hygienic behaviour, instrumental insemination, natural mating, […]

Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

[…]with the DC area above the Port St. Mary Golf course. The drone comets that formed to chase our queen sent aloft, tethered to a couple of helium balloons, remains one of the highpoints of my beekeeping career. Our efforts culminated in watching a queen being pursued and mated at head height. …much to the indifference of my five year […]
Read more » Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

Adrian Waring

[…]Brooke poem – Adrian recited the rest of the poem! He demonstrated skill at managing bees and queen rearing which he was able to convey to others.   Adrian was also a stick dresser – a maker of walking sticks.   He made one for me with a skep carved on the handle, which will remind me of the time we spent together.   He […]

BBOBI Group – March April 2019 Newsletter

[…]modest batch of AMM grafts have been taken to standardise the method and educate the core team. Queen cages are being prepared, either plastic bought at the Tradex or Benton Cages constructed from timber. Mating preparations have started; making Queen Castles and attending lectures on Apidea management Activities we have planned: Swarm control !!! 🙂 More evening social meetings Apiary […]

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

[…]Workers can only produce drone offspring if hopelessly queen less, but do they produce drones in a queenright colony? I will explain a little on drone genetics and its consequences and sex determination in the honey bee and how diploid drones arise. I will outline the job description of drones and include some behavior particulars leading onto the mating event, […]
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”

[…]Since then has coordinated the Group’s breeding programme and its arduous task of learning about queen and drone-rearing, natural mating and instrumental insemination, colony assessment and bee morphometry and breeder evaluation and selection. Lecture Title: “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders” Achieving sustained and demonstrable bee improvement in only a few […]
Read more » Mike Saunders “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders”

Cheshire Honeybee Improvement Partnership (CHIP)- CW9

[…]and propagate the native and near native honey bees. The CHIP members have formed a collective queen rearing group and are each helping other local individuals and groups to enter into selective and practical queen rearing groups in their locality   For more information please contact    […]
Read more » Cheshire Honeybee Improvement Partnership (CHIP)- CW9

Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

[…]BKA while teaching at BCA, so it makes sense to continue his work in the local area. Free Virgin Queens Due to a lack of resources, attempting to distribute mated queens, would significantly slow the progress of spreading local genetics and being able to modify temperament. It was therefore proposed to give away marked virgin queens during 2019 to anyone […]
Read more » Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

[…]capacity – not needed except to produce a lot of queens. 5) Will you produce queen cells or virgin queens? There are pros and cons of both. Virgins may not be accepted but queen cells may be duds. There are methods of minimising the downsides of both. 6) What mating nuc will you use? Three frame nuc needs more resources […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]the demand for bees. Consequently, most known British bees are now hybridised, to some extent, as virgin queens mate with up to twenty drones from different colonies. The Italian bee, for example, evolved in very different conditions i.e. hot dry summers and warm wet winters. This has caused problems for our national bee stock in that hybridised bees do not […]

A Native Dark Bee Project

[…]stocks of dark bees kept on the mainland of Northern Scotland. The successful raising of the virgin queens from these stocks was reported in Bee Improvement and Conservation 38 Late Spring 2012 pp15 -16 (see SBA website Year 1. July 2010 – Timing of harvesting and hive selection was donor dependant. Where available, one piece of comb containing eggs […]

Jutland Visit

[…]to heat the boiler for his house. Poul raises over 2000 queens annually although he sells many virgin queens. He has many lines of queens and raises them for gentleness, quietness on the comb and he also tests for hygienic behaviour by the freeze brood method. He says he will raise 30 sister queens but after selection only retains about […]

Honey bee conservation

[…]and the surrounding populations. Honeybees have a very complex mating system in which drones and virgin queens meet mid-air to mate in areas that have been named drone congregation areas. Drones assembled in such a drone congregation area come from several surrounding colonies and thereby represent the diversity of the entire local population. These congregation areas are considered panmictic structures […]