The honey bee population in the UK is dominated by hybrids and these bees in the main are pretty aggressive and unpleasant to handle. Due to the natural mating habits of the honey bee it is impossible to alter this situation without drastic but positive steps to introduce an acceptable alternative.

Because the British native dark bee has a huge background of success in this country, it is the obvious first choice in selection for breeding. There are small pockets of pure native dark bees still to be found and, over the years, there have been attempts by some to breed from these. The fact remains though, that unless you are in a totally isolated site, at least 6 miles from any other possible bee colony, the likelihood is that your queens will still be mated with hybrid drones.

One way forward therefore, is to carefully select pure native virgin queens from your best colonies and INSTRUMENTALLY INSEMINATE them with pure drones from your own (or other) pure native colonies.This way you are guaranteed to have pure offspring and, if this could be extended within areas, it would be possible to change the majority of bees from hybrid back to pure native.

An alternative, open to a greater number of beekeepers, is to flood your own apiary with pure native drones, this can have a dramatic effect upon improving your stocks. See guide in the “Apiary Management” page.

Italian Bees on comb                                                                      Pure dark native bees on comb

Italian bee collecting nectar

Pure native dark bee collecting nectar