Black honeybees ‘rediscovered’ in Britain

The native black honeybee, feared to have died out in all but the remote reaches of northern Britain, has been found in north Wales, east Anglia and as far south as West Sussex… Black honeybees rediscovered in Britain | Environment | The Guardian.

‘Rediscovered’…. I’m not sure they were actually ‘lost’ in the first place, perhaps just not very prevalent – but the swarm we caught last year seemed to have a lot of black bee genes in them – however, good to hear they are found to be thriving in some areas.

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One Response to Black honeybees ‘rediscovered’ in Britain

  1. itsonlyausername says:

    To clarify the statement above. The British Black Bee’s almost died out in the 1916-1925 due to was called the Isle of Wight disease. However numerous places around the UK had small colonies survive, especially further North.
    Due to the importation of foreign types the British Blacks that remained inevitably cross bred with the foreigners and produced a bad tempered hybrid which explains why several people have commented how they took over their gardens or prevented anyone getting close to the hive.

    For further information this website is very useful. It also includes a way of identifying the British Black strain and assessing the genetic purity of the strain. It requires some patience and a few dead bees from the colony so that certain wing vein measurements can be taken for a simple calculation.

    For the record I am intending to try and raise some British Blacks with the ultimate aim of overpopulating the area so that they become the dominant strain once again. They were always better suited to the British Weather. Unlike the introduced foreign types that need lots of sunshine to get motivated. 🙂


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