SNHBS Zoom Meeting: Monday, 11 September at 7:30pm. We’re delighted to be starting our series of winter talks and workshops this season with a talk from Daniel Basterfield on Simple Queen Raising. Daniel and his… More
Scotland’s native honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, is at serious risk of disappearing by being genetically swamped by cross-breeding with the non-native types now found across the country, rather like our native wildcat. Over many millennia, this honey bee adapted to our changeable and often windy climate on the Western fringes of Europe. These bees are often said to be stocky, dark, frugal and with particularly hairy backsides! All these traits can be useful to an insect needing to forage, survive and even mate in our cool, windy climate.Continue reading “Scottish Native Honey Bee”
With over 200 delegates, the first SICAMM online conference about dark European honey bees has been a huge success.
SICAMM has held conferences every two years “to support the survey, conservation, management and breeding of all extant ecotypes and geographical variants of the dark European honey bee Apis mellifera mellifera.” Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SICAMM was unable to hold the planned 2020 meeting in Ireland and, so the SICAMM committee organised and held its first online conference beginning on 23rd October, 2021. It has been followed with a weekly lecture series held every Wednesday evening at 6pm GMT. These sessions run until 22 March 2022.Continue reading “SICAMM 2021: the online conference that’s got everyone buzzing”
Open to all beekeepers in Scotland
We hope 2021 will see a gradual easing of restrictions as the Covid pandemic comes under control. We have planned an extended search for native honey bees this year which involves an easy to use initial photo screening and further assessment by a team of experienced Conservation Project assessors.
Our aim is to find good strains of native and near-native honey bees that are endemic to Scotland.Continue reading “2021 Survey for Scottish Native Honey Bees”
Recent reports in the media of threatened imports into Ireland of non-native honey bees has Irish beekeepers up in arms. The Scottish Native Honey Bee Society share the concerns of beekeepers in Ireland who have worked tirelessly and devoted a lifetime of beekeeping in bringing the native honey bee to the unique position it now occupies. To find out more please follow this link to the Native Irish Honey Bee Society ……. http://nihbs.org/
(Apis mellifera mellifera) in the Hebrides, Scotland
By Andrew Abrahams
We are grateful to the author Andrew Abrahams and the editor of the American Bee Journal for permission to use this article.
Readers might ask, why on earth spend much of a lifetime conserving what most beekeepers perceive as an aggressive, unproductive race of honey bee — a race perhaps left behind by history? I was fortunate, often by chance rather than grand design, to gather up some pure remnants of Scotland’s native honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) in the late 1970s and since then I have managed over decades to improve this population in the isolation of the remote island of Colonsay, which lies 16 miles off the west coast of Scotland (see https://colonsay.org.uk).Continue reading “Conserving Black Bees”
Queen rearing can be a hugely rewarding aspect of beekeeping when successful and the most exasperating when it does not go to plan. I recommend you embark on it willing to learn incrementally from your experience and not be deterred by disappointments. Success generally follows careful application and practice of sound guidance.
There are five basic stages to plan and manage, from the laying of eggs to successfully mated queens laying eggs in their own colonies. I will explain each of these, briefly, highlighting key aspects. These stages involve the raising of queen cells from fertilised worker eggs rather than using swarm, supersedure or emergency cells already drawn by bees.Continue reading “Queen rearing: five stages to manage”
The Moorfoot Group currently comprises six beekeepers setting up an isolation Amm mating apiary in the Moorfoot area. We aim to develop approximately 20 Amm colonies to overwinter in the the Edinburgh, West Linton, Gordon, Penicuik and Kirknewton areas. At present we have approximately sixteen queenright Amm and hybrid/ Amm colonies, mostly grafted by us from Amm frames kindly donated by Kate Atchley and John Durkacz with additionally five grafted Amm queen cells which are awaiting local mating. The locally mated hybrid/ Amm colonies are to supply Amm drones and will be transferred to Moorfoot next April before local non Amm stowaway drones can hitch a ride.
The philosophy of the group was to site the apiary where no sensible beekeepes would want a colony.
However we have found that if the transferred colonies can manage the harsh springs there is ample forage for a good honey crop that will help the site to be self sustainable.
We’re grateful to have recieved a £400 grant from SAMMBA and thank John and Kate for their generous assistance.
Loch Leven Community Campus, Muir, Kinross – 14 March 2020
By Justine Swinney
Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual meeting on 14 March at the Loch Leven Community Campus in Muir, Kinross. Considering the uncertain situation we were in just nine days before the full Covid-19 lockdown, we had an impressive turnout; and thank you to everyone for following the guidance at that time in terms of vigilant handwashing etc.
Jo Widdicombe, President of BIBBA (Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association) valiantly journeyed up from Cornwall and gave us two inspiring talks on bee improvement (read more about Jo’s presentation here).Continue reading “SNHBS 4th Annual Meeting”
Native bee breeders and would-be breeders from the Lothians and Borders met in March to discuss how they might help one another through the coming season.Continue reading “Borders & Lothians breeders get together”
Many members are seeking to buy native bees and been frustrated by the lack of stocks and information about breeders. So let us explain the current situation, to avoid disappointment, and outline SNHBS’s plans to increase Amm availability for the future.Continue reading “Sourcing native Scottish honey bees”