The programme aims to boost numbers of the native bee – local breeds of pig, donkey and goose have also been put on protected list,
Native black bees have been declared a breed to be promoted and protected by Normandy regional council, which is funding associations to help boost the species.
Present in the region since the last ice age, the black bees, also called wild bees, are threatened by the introduction of commercial bees, especially the hybrid Buckfast bee, which was bred for quick reproduction and higher honey yields.
Pests, including honey bee mites and Asian hornets, also threaten the Norman black bees. “The problem is that black bees and Buckfast bees can mate, and so the genetic purity of the black bee risks being lost,” Jean-Marie Godier, the president of one of the associations, Abeille Normande du Calvados, told The Connexion.