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[…]and supporting initiatives to increase the availability of native and near-native bees through queen breeding and rearing, and the production of ‘nucs’, including Bee Improvement Programmes in the British Isles and Ireland; Supporting and developing queen-rearing operations and local/regional mating stations for the use of beekeepers in the relevant area; Supporting local Beekeeping Associations who are interested in supporting native […]

BIBBA Monthly – September 2019

Queen Rearing – my preferred method by Jo Widdicombe Setting Up a Breeding Conservation Group BIBBA members can download a pdf copy of the full magazine for personal […]

NatBIP News No2

[…]your colony up on two brood boxes to be split in two when the time is right. The bees will rear queen cells in the queenless brood box. More details on this simple method in Section 5.1 of the NatBIP GUIDE at Queen Rearing guidance If you didn’t catch this BIBBA webinar recently – “Understanding Queen Rearing Methods” by […]

Lester Wickham

[…]a trio of tykes. Lester appreciated what Beowulf was proposing and he and a friend started a queen rearing project in the heights above Holme Firth, long before Compo, Cleggy and Norah Batty entered our lives. The strong winds over the Pennines proved too much for successful queen mating so they retrenched into the Holme Valley and went for honey, […]

Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

[…]We encourage beekeepers to value and nurture their drones with the same care they would their queens. Encourage the use of British hybrid queens We want to encourage people to buy British and support their fellow beekeepers by buying locally adapted British hybrids. We want to discourage the use of the so called ‘Buckfast bee’ whose name has become synonymous […]
Read more » Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn

[…]from the outside frame or in your best colonies two frames – one in from either end. Introducing Queens Simple queen introduction – rather than picking a queen off the frame and putting her in a cage, with or without attendants, it is far simpler to use the newspaper method to combine a queenless colony with a nucleus with a […]

A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

[…]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 quality than those available in the UK It should be noted that not all imports are checked for biosecurity […]
Read more » A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

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 […]

BBOBI Group – April 2020 Newsletter

[…]and offering mated queens or even nucs to you in late June. We have been researching and making queen banks in the hope we can hold our best queens a little longer this year. Another success from last year was the social gatherings at a local pub, this started in April and unless we can meet via a Zoom session, […]

Membership Application

What does BIBBA Offer? Read our Privacy Policy and Constitution here Want to Join? Click Here Existing Member? Click […]

NatBIP – May 2020

[…]gained. It will cover such things as the record card and record-keeping, selecting breeder queens, queen rearing techniques, working in groups/Group Handbook, dominating an area with the selected strain/establishing a strain, selection of local stock/refining the native strain, and availability and distribution of surplus queens from other beekeepers. In the meantime, the Programme is being piloted at various apiaries around […]

Webinars – Season Two

Tuesday 18th August 7:30pm – Roger Patterson – “Dead Bees Don’t Buzz – Surviving the Winter “ Presentation:  “Dead Bees Don’t Buzz – Surviving the Winter “ View Recording – Roger Patterson – “Dead Bees Don’t Buzz – Surviving the Winter “ Tuesday 25th August 7:30pm – Lynfa Davies – “The Mystery of Mating” Presentation:  “The Mystery of Mating”. View […]

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

[…]value. If successful, those colonies can be requeened next year with better locally produced queens. If the queens were introduced to small nucs, there would be very few drones produced. If requeened early in the spring, then there will also be few drones, especially if the colonies are kept small. The whole exercise should not greatly affect Karl’s local population […]
Read more » Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

Conserving black bees

[…]to improve the native strain consider­ably.”2 A local farmer, Niall McNeill, was trained in queen rearing. Queens and nucs were sent regularly to the mainland. In 1945, Eva Crane, Direc­tor of the International Bee Research Association in the U.K., recorded in her diary a visit to Colonsay and Oronsay and her interest in find­ing Black Bees on the islands, which […]

Cupkit, Fakes and Annoyance

[…]is a plastic box with holes in that are blocked off by cups.  This replicates a comb, so when a queen is imprisoned in the box by a queen excluder, she lays eggs in the cups.  When done, she is released back into the colony.  The eggs develop into larvae, that are transferred in the cups into a holder when […]

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

[…]out how to create another 1-6 colonies for when a suitable larvae, queen cell, virgin queen or mated queen becomes available. Have a few things prepared so that when you get the call or email, it’s not a mad dash. As soon as the above equipment is used, figure out where the next frames, box etc. is coming from. Your […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

BIBBA Monthly – December 2020

[…]check to see if a queen is present, but removes all the queen cells, so they are hopelessly queenless. A queen has emerged but not returned from her mating flight. Until a few years ago, a queenless colony gave a distinctive noise, known as the “queenless roar” and often behaved in an agitated manner, which were reliable signs for a […]

Webinars – Summary

Recordings of the majority of webinars are available on our YouTube Channel Don’t forget to sign up here, for free, to learn more about our future programme. This is a listing of the Spring 2021 programme, with links to the […]

Section 1.3 – Participation

[…]– Publication with articles from BIBBA Monthly Publications and guidance on bee improvement and queen rearing Support for local Bee Improvement Groups Lectures, demonstrations, workshops on all aspects of bee improvement Support us in developing a hardy, docile and productive bee. 2. Sign up as a Supporter of the National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP). (Free) Supporters of the scheme are […]

Section 2.1 – How NatBIP will work

[…]of our colonies. Producing the next generation From our completed record cards, we can choose the queen or queens to rear further queens from. Some will want to rear numerous queens from a few selected queens, others may prefer just one or two offspring from numerous queens, perhaps up to half of available stocks. It is important not to narrow […]

Section 3.1 – The Selection of Local Stock

[…]of ‘inbreeding’ and maintaining genetic diversity. To allow us to select the most desirable queens to rear a new generation of queens from, and to replace, or remove from the area, undesirable queens, we need to use a system of record-keeping that allows us, over time, to build up a picture of the qualities of each queen. Beekeepers are often […]

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

[…]Association Queen or Colony Origin: Source or origin of Queen and/or Colony Name or No. of Strain: Queen Name or No.: Name/no. if breeder Queen Mark/Age: Letter for year colour. Circled if marked Queen description: Colour, stripes, clipped? Apiary Name: Name or location of apiary Hive No.: Number or ID of hive Hive Type: Type of hive + Brood box […]
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

Section 7.1 – 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 mating flights from about […]

Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

[…]then have our colonies headed by queens we have selected. From these we can produce daughter queens through our queen breeding programme….…. this is an ongoing process which is repeated each season. The daughter queens play a key part in bee improvement and establishing our selected strain in an area because irrespective of her open mating with its mixed mating […]
Read more » Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

NatBIP News No3

[…]assessing the qualities of our colonies, and therefore of our queens, so that we can select a queen, or queens, to use to produce the next generation of queens. Ideally, have a record card for each colony (i.e. one for each queen) and assess the colony on each inspection. The ‘NatBIP Record Card’ can be downloaded from the BIBBA website […]

NatBIP News No4

[…]we desire and become part of the movement towards sustainable beekeeping. Jo Widdicombe Breeder queens and queen-rearing As the active season gets well under way, we can continue to monitor the qualities of our queens using our own system of record-keeping or download the record card from the NatBIP GUIDE on the BIBBA website (search As we assess the […]

East Midlands 1998

[…]days. The care of queens after emergence is important, failure to take simple steps can result in queens dying. Once the queens have emerged they must have immediate access to liquid honey or soft candy, and the cell case removed to give them more room in the cage, and to prevent them entering the cell and getting trapped. Conclusion One […]

NatBIP News No5

[…]from 5 days old onwards. Usually queens laying by 21 days old. Check sealed brood for drone-laying queens. Queens that take a long time coming into lay, often (but not always) turn out to be drone-layers   With the rubbish weather, what are my options if my queen/s fail to mate and when should I worry about laying workers? I […]

Dover and Districts BKA Q rearing support group – CT4

[…]and skill level; individual or small group support will be given as they undertake their queen rearing. There is no charge for this course, but participants must be a member of Dover & District BKA and, if excess queens are raised, one must be given away to a local beekeeper, in need, at no cost. For further information please contact: […]
Read more » Dover and Districts BKA Q rearing support group – CT4

NatBIP News No6

[…]to detect subtle differences that the beekeeper cannot hope to be aware of. If we rely on natural queen cells for our queen production (swarm cells, supersedure cells or emergency cells) then we are, in fact, leaving it to the bees to choose. One, often cited, problem with this is that reliance on swarm cells may result in us inadvertently […]

NatBIP News No 7

[…]we can influence our local population and gradually get more consistent results. Without imported queens, and by producing offspring from our selected breeder queens (which will produce good drones, regardless of their matings) we can influence the local drone population. I have seen this achieve results in my area and we know others have done the same. Local mating stations […]

Lune Valley New Breeding Apiary

[…]our local conditions. Earlier this year (2021) spurred on by the ban on the importation of all but queens, we set about building a breeding apiary. With most of our members being new or relatively new to beekeeping, our initial intention is to focus on producing splits. We may move on to queen rearing at a later stage. As the […]

The Native Irish Honey Bee

[…]in the 2020s as our knowledge of honey bee genetics increases), conservation, bee improvement and queen rearing, and a review of the past, present, and future for the native honey bee in Ireland. This is not just an excellent read, it is one of those books that you will keep going back to time after time. reviewed by Selwyn Runnett […]


[…]MORE BIBBA Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens for these 15 […]