Scottish Native Honey Bee Conservation Project

Do you have dark native honey bees?

Do you think that you may have Scottish native honey bees?  Are you interested in helping their recovery in Scotland?  Would you like a chance to have them DNA tested?

We are seeking input from all beekeepers in Scotland to help find – and ultimately propagate – examples of the native honey bee.  If your bees, or the bees of other local beekeepers you collaborate with, are dark brown without significant banding, then please consider submitting photos for our crack team of assessors to investigate.  Scotland is divided into six regions with a local contact point (or Local Curator) who will guide you through the process.  Click here for instructions on how to participate in the SNHBS Conservation Project.

We have had a generous offer of DNA testing by a Danish researcher so the owners of selected colonies will be invited to send in a small sample of live bees for this analysis. We will let you know the results for your own colonies when the results come in, probably later this year.

This is part of a larger project run by the Scottish Native Honey Bee Society which aims to identify, propagate, assess and distribute good examples of our native honey bee. We have now opened the survey part of this project to all beekeepers in Scotland.

If you need any assistance or have a question please contact the Project Co-ordinator, Ian Lennox at

Thank you!

As an example of what you need to take part, here are three images from separate areas each showing three top bars covered in bees. Photos should be taken at an angle which helps ensure some bees in sharp enough focus to see the detail of hairs on the abdomen.  The fourth photo is a close-up showing tomentum hair bands and overhairs which are important in identifying native honey bees.   Click here for more information on identifying native honey bees.