A significant pure population of the dark European honey bee remains in Ireland

Great to see the research carried out at LIT and NUIG published in the Journal of Apicultural Research.

NIHBS members contributed by sending in samples for DNA testing.
Ireland has one of the most pure Amm populations in Europe. Many of us have always believed that we had something unique in Ireland and it is great to have that belief confirmed by peer reviewed research.

The paper is open access and can be read here.


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COLOSS: Honey Bee Colony Loss/Survival Survey 2017/2018

The annual COLOSS survey on winter colony losses is now available for completion online by clicking the hyperlink: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/coloss2018

Alternatively, it can be completed manually by printing the pdf file

Completed surveys should be returned to Mary F Coffey, Teagasc, Oakpark Research Centre, Carlow.

Closing date is 1 June 2018

Please participate…Thank you

Mary F Coffey

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NIHBS information leaflets now available

NIHBS information leaflets

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NIHBS Leinster Conference Sunday 29th April

Note:  The full range of the new NIHBS Information Leaflets and Booklets will be available for sale on the day.
In addition, Paul O’Sullivan of Bee Supplies will attend with some beekeeping supplies – if you wish to order in advance please contact Paul directly.
Everyone welcome – looking forward to seeing you there.


Athy Church of Ireland Centre is located behind St. Michael’s Church of Ireland Church on the Carlow Road, Athy, Co. Kildare.

From Dublin: Take the N7/M7 to the south from the Red Cow Junction.


Turn off at the M9 junction to Waterford.

Take the 2nd exit, signed N78, to Athy.

From South East: Travel North on M9 to Athy / N78 Junction. Take N78 to Athy.

Local Directions, coming from M9.

Follow signs to Athy town centre.

Turn left onto Carlow Road at 3rd set of traffic lights (Xtra Vision on right)

Drive 250m up Carlow Road, turn right before Church of Ireland Church, centre car park on left.
Additional parking at the railway station, Emily square or the surrounding streets
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Ireland joins international group trying to protect bees

Since 2015, Ireland has an All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP) in place. This was one of the first cross-sector attempts by any country to arrest the decline in pollinators.

The initiative was led by Dr Una Fitzpatrick of the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Co Waterford, and botanist Prof Jane Stout of Trinity College.

Read more in the Irish Times

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NIHBS Munster Seminar

This will take place on Saturday 14th April in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow

Speakers include Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda, Jack Hassett, Redmond Williams, Michael Maunsell and Dennis Ryan.

Full details here

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Scottish Native Honey Bee conference

Scottish Native Honey Bee Society
Annual Meeting – Loch Leven Community Campus, Kinross
Saturday 17 March 2018 at 10:00-16:00

Per Kryger, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Per is a Danish scientist working in the SMARTBEES and other projects. He will give us an update on progress exploring genetic variation in honey bees and on the tools becoming available for breeders.
Jon Getty, Native Irish Honey Bee Society.
Jon is secretary of the Belfast Beekeepers Association and the webmaster of NIHBS. He will share his extensive knowledge of queen rearing and the use of mini-nuclei.
Ian Lennox, Coordinator of the new project on assessing the status of native honey bees in Scotland.
Ian will report on the activities of a newly formed group to support this project and on the progress expected in 2018.
Business meeting:
Report from the Chair on SNHBS activities since the launch and a look ahead to 2018 and beyond.
Financial report; Members’ forum; Changes to the Constitution; Election of the new board.
The meeting is open to members. Anyone interested can join the society for £20 at www.snhbs.scot
A buffet lunch will be available at £7.50 for people registering their interest by 10 March via the Eventbrite link at the website above.

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Contact your MEP about protecting local bees

Dear Native Bee Supporter,
The following is from POLLINIS – a very active group based in France who are campaigning for Native/Local honey bees.
This is very important news for our bees especially in the wake of the recent research results confirming the genetic purity and uniqueness of the Irish Native Honey Bee – Apis mellifera mellifera.
So please read the message below and do contact your MEPs for their support.
Regards, Loretta
email: nihbs.pro@gmail.com
Last month signatures of 40 associations and scientists from all over Europe were presented to the MEPs in order to encourage them to vote in favor of the amendments asking for the protection of local European bees in the apiculture report of the AGRI Committee. The final text voted by the MEPs and adopted almost unanimously (38+, 1-) on January 23 recognises:

the necessity to preserve the extraordinary genetic inheritance, the diversity and the capacity of adaptation of the local populations and endemic to bees”.

However, POLLINIS is disappointed that the final text does not include the amendment referring to the need for a legal protection of local bees :

” Calls on the European Commission and Member States to put in place measures to increase legal protection and financial support for local honey bee ecotypes and populations throughout the European Union, including by way of legally protected locally endemic honey bee conservation areas ”.

In the coming days we will do our best to reintroduce this amendment before 21 February so it can be put to the vote at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament that will take place March 1rst.

In order for this to happen, we need to gather the signatures of 76 MEPs so that the amendment can be discussed at this meeting and the legal protection has a chance to finally emerge.

➡  It is absolutely necessary to contact your MEPs so that they commit to sign for the reintroduction of this amendment, this is the only possible way to finally recognize and protect your work!

The stakes are high and the time you devote to this task will be rewarded you a hundredfold in the field! Set off some time to the task, share the work between you, divide it in several chunks if necessary, but please, do it, it is vital to obtain a permanent protection of local bees!

 1.  Send the following email: http://www.pollinis.org/mail-european-members-reintroduce-amendment-legal-protection-black-bees/

 2.  Do not hesitate to call your MEPs, their contact details are made available for this purpose and they don’t always read their emails. It will encourage them to give their consent right away. Time is pressing! You will find each MEP’s contact details in the right column of their profile on the following website simply choose your country: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ireland/en/your-meps

 3.  When one MEP agrees to sign for the reintroduction of the amendment, simply provide us with his name.

 We will arrange for the document to circulate within the Parliament in order for it to be signed by each MEP giving his approval.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write to us at advocacy@pollinis.org
We thank you for your participation in what could become a historical event in the defence of local bees everywhere in Europe!


Nicolas Laarman, general delegate of POLLINIS.

Contact : Fanny Buffin

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Countdown to the NIHBS conference

Conference starts this Friday 9th February with talks by Ralph Buchler and Jonathan Getty.

5.00 p.m. Registration

6.00 p.m. Dr. Ralph Büchler – Organisation and breeding program of the German breeder association AGT.
7.00 p.m. Jonathan Getty – Setting up a Queen Rearing Group
7.45 p.m. – The Reverend Sam Millar Award

No need to pre book, just turn up.

Full list of speakers for Friday and Saturday can be found here


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NIHBS Conference Mark Newenham

Mark Newenham of Coolmore Bees will be outlining his queen rearing method at 2.30 on the afternoon of Saturday 10th February.

venue: Athlone Springs Hotel

‘Coolmore bees started back in 2005 with the original stock consisting of every bee under the sun. However it soon became clear that we needed to start breeding a bee that was adapted to the Irish climate, and subsequently a queen rearing method that could be used in all weather. After many failed attempts, we came up with the “slot system” of continuous queen rearing that allowed us to raise queens with minimal intervention to the hive.

After mite tolerance to many synthetic pyrethroids hit, we looked into breeding for Varroa tolerance and obtained stock from a local organic beekeeper who used little or no treatment. This lack of treatment was kept up until about 2015 until we were forced to start using chemical control methods (in the form of organic acids) again due to major colony losses. Although this was a major setback to our programme, we are continuing to breed for a hygienic and productive honeybee.’

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