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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…

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 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…
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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 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.…

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?

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

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?

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

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:…

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…


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…

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

BIBBA Monthly – December 2021

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

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…

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…

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.

BIFA feedback

The Bibba “Bee Improvement for All” Workshopx A few months ago, one of our Committee members, Dave Barrett, came to me and said, “I think we should do this BIBBA One Day Course – I’ll organise it all.” “Great idea”, I said. So Dave booked the date with BIBBA, he booked a suitable hall, he got our Education Officer to…

Laesoe 2004

Laesoe Conference 2004 BIBBA and SICAMM Combined Laesoe Conference 2004 Ten delegates from Ireland and the UK decided to approach the Danish island of Laeso, venue of the 2004 SICAMM/BIBBA Dark Bee Conference, from Gothenburg in Sweden. The chosen conveyance, Mr. Börjeson's "sea taxi", provided an efficient though very choppy passage. Once on the island we joined other BIBBA members…

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

Terry Hitchman

Terry lives in South Warwickshire in a village near Stratford-upon-Avon. He is a self employed builder with a farming background and his hobbies are beekeeping, farming and horses. Terry has 35 years experience in beekeeping and has been a member of BIBBA for approximately 20 years. He purchased his first Apis mellifera mellifera virgin queen at the East Midlands bee…

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…

A Native Dark Bee Project

Margie Ramsay reports on a project reintroducing A.m.m. to a reserve in Scotland. Update July 2015 In 1905, just before the First World War there was a 20 year long bee plague called Isle of Wight disease which was considered by many, including bee breeder Brother Adam, to have eradicated the native subspecies of dark European honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera…

Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda “Producing Honey Under Difficult Conditions”

Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda is a commercial beekeeper based on Ireland's east coast. As a fourth-generation beekeeper, he learned his craft through helping his father with the famous Galtee black bees of Co. Tipperary. After settling in Co. Louth, he embarked on his own beekeeping enterprise using local strains of native Irish honey bee. He is Education Officer for Co.…
Read more » Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda “Producing Honey Under Difficult Conditions”

Colony Assessment Criteria

Simple criteria we can all set for our bees Despite what you may hear or read, it is fairly easy to change some of the characteristics of your bees. 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.…

Genetic Identification and Introgression Analysis

This system describes an essential tool in Europe for genetic stock identification and estimation of admixture levels which can assist management strategies and monitor honey bee conservation programs. View pdf
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Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

Clive started beekeeping in the 1960s, and has managed colonies in 11 counties. He was employed at the National Beekeeping Unit in the 1980s, supervising disease inspection officers. He has worked in a UK beefarming enterprise (2000+ colonies), raising 1000 queens annually.  Clive's first beekeeping exam was in 1970, whilst a committee member of the Village Bee Breeders Association (now…
Read more » Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

Caging Virgin Queens

Comparing Alternative Methods for Holding Virgin Honey Bee Queens for One Week in Mailing Cages before Mating

The Marches Group – SY10

We operate on a small scale in the Tanat Valley, rearing and improving our stocks of native Apis Mellifera Mellifera contact Steven Jones

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

I am a retired mathematics and physics teacher. I began beekeeping in the early 1970s when I was approached by a local farmer to rescue bees from a dangerous hollow tree that overhung the road between my house and his land. There followed a short intense period of study of beekeeping and carpentry to make a suitable home for my…
Read more » Michael Maunsell “The Drone – More to its life than we may think?”

The health and status of the feral honeybee population of the UK

abstract of thesis Catherine Eleanor Thompson: While declines in managed honeybee colonies are well documented, little is known about the health and status of feral honeybee populations. To date no studies have considered the wider pathogen burden in feral colonies, whether they represent a genetically distinct population, a remnant native population or a unique source of genetic resistance.
Read more » The health and status of the feral honeybee population of the UK

Paul Cross “Development of a miniature vibration energy harvester for battery-less tracking of honey bees”

Paul keeps 15 colonies on Anglesey and runs the Bangor University apiary which is used for teaching and research purposes. He is involved in supervising a diverse range of bee-related research projects, including the evaluation of bee-keeping as a poverty alleviating tool in Uganda and Tanzania, discrimination of honey bee races in North Wales (in conjunction with Steve Rose of…
Read more » Paul Cross “Development of a miniature vibration energy harvester for battery-less tracking of honey bees”

Keith Pierce “Apideas: Their operation and maintenance”

I have been beekeeping now for over 25 years, selectively rearing queens of our Dark Native Irish Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera. My selection program is based on the ability of my bees to over-winter strongly, together with disease resistance, docility, productivity, colour and more. My home and main mating apiary is just on the outskirts of Dublin city, with the…
Read more » Keith Pierce “Apideas: Their operation and maintenance”

Dorian Pritchard “Selective breeding without inbreeding; where’s the happy medium?”

Dorian Pritchard is a retired university lecturer in medical genetics. He has a PhD in genetics, is author of “Foundations of Developmental Genetics” and first author of “Medical Genetics At A Glance”. He has run 4 – 20 national hives in Northumberland since 1979 and was inspired to concentrate on the native Dark Bee, A. m. mellifera, after comparing the…
Read more » Dorian Pritchard “Selective breeding without inbreeding; where’s the happy medium?”

New Approach to the Mitotype Classification

The main problem of the black honeybee in Russia and European countries is the preservation of the indigenous gene pool purity; A new approach to the classification of the honeybee M mitotypes was suggested.

The black bee, an increasingly rare pearl

translated from Pollinis "l'abeille noire" In addition to the many factors that are decimating bee colonies around the world, the black bee, the local bee, is facing a race for short-term profitability which favours the import of bees that are often unsuitable for our areas and are more fragile. A marvel of adaptation Lively, frugal and resistant, the black…

BIPCo 6th Annual Bee Improvement Day

A one-day event organised by the Bee Improvement Programme for Cornwall (BIPCo) To be held at Lanhydrock Memorial Hall, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 5AE on Saturday 18th February 2017

BIM 43 – Spring 2014

BIFA Days – Roger Patterson Moonlight Mating – Philip Denwood Pure Mating by Time Isolation – John E Dews Ownership of a Swarm – Brian Dennis Annual General Meeting Agenda – Secretary Annual Accounts – Treasurer Trustees Report – Chairman Draft Minutes – Secretary BIFA meeting in Sussex – James Norfolk Book Review – Philip Denwood Patron Saints – Brian…

BIBBA Open Day. Wakefield.

This is an all day summer event to help increase the knowledge of beekeepers of all abilities on bee improvement. Attendees are encouraged to rear queens from desirable colonies that are docile, calm on the comb, productive and suit their local conditions.

BIBBA Open Day. Lampeter.

What is it? An all day event for beekeepers of all abilities to help and encourage them to improve their bees by using locally produced queens. Why? When buying queens you may be promised high yields and docility, but later generations of these queens can often produce aggressive colonies. To overcome this problem it is often advised to buy new…

BIBBA Open Day – Improve Your Bees

A day of theory and practice for all beekeepers: This is an all day summer event to help increase the knowledge of beekeepers of all abilities on bee improvement. Attendees are encouraged to rear queens from desirable colonies that are docile, calm on the comb, productive and suit their local conditions.

East Midlands further notes

Further notes: We currently have a committee of six and 8 other members in total (who I’m contacting to see if the new location is still convenient for them) and 4 others whose expressed an interest in joining the group. So we are in flux but very stable given the significance of moving our apiary after 50 years at the…

BIM 44 – Summer 2014

From the Chair - Kevin Lincoln BIFA Days - Roger Patterson Letters to the Editor - Mark McVey IBRA Press Release - Norman Carreck A BIPCo visit - Jo Widdicombe Pesticide Debate - Norman Benson Queen raising for the Amateur - Alan Brown In Memory of Janet Hinchley - David Allen Sampling and Predicting - Brian Dennis Bee v Pigeon…

Countryfile – on the Rame Peninsula

The prospect of Countryfile coming to the Rame Peninsula and doing a report on native bees was a cause for excitement and some trepidation. We are all used to incorrect reports in the press, wasps being labelled as bees and so on. We also know about the hours of filming that go on for two minutes of viewing, which can…

BIM 32 – Autumn 2009

The Harding Hive Debris Floor - John Harding Three fertile queens in one colony - Roger Patterson Variation in susceptibility to bee diseases among European races of honey bees - Dinah Sweet Isle of Wight disease in Warwickshire - Brian Milward Griff Jenkins - obituary by Albert Knight Queens entombed in wax - Norman Walsh Reply to Robin Dean’s article…

BIM 51 – Summer 2018

From the President – Jo Widdicombe Albert Knight – J. Phipps, D. Allen and A. Stokes BIBBA Conference – Roger Patterson Shakespeare’s Bees – Gaynor Smith Just look what happens if . . . – Dorian Pritchard In Memory of Abess – Dawn Boswell-Challand Sustainable Beekeeping – David Ledger Two days at Cilgwri – David Spalding Stratford-upon-Avon BIG – Terry…