Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society

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“The Native Irish Honey Bee, Apis mellifera melliferafocuses exclusively on the native Irish honey bee, featuring narratives on its evolution, genetics, history and conservation, with practical “How-to” sections on bee improvement, plus real-life stories from commercial beekeepers. Its aims are to increase awareness of and appreciation for the precious resources imbued in the native black honey bee, to encourage beekeepers to choose native Irish honey bees and to discourage the buying and importation of non-native honey bees.

Interested in setting up a NIHBS Conservation Area?

We believe that setting up a conservation area for these precious creatures is a crucial step towards preserving their population and ensuring their survival for generations to come. We invite you to consider joining us in this important mission by learning more about the Native Irish Black Bee and the steps you can take to help protect them.

Contact our Conservation Officer now to discuss how to begin.

Latest NIHBS News

Grafting since 1879 – R. Touchton (autumn 2008)

Grafting Queen-Cells: When was it First Practiced? Reproduced from: Gleanings in Bee Culture, March 15, 1896 Dr. Miller asks, “Who first invented inoculation, or the …

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Natural Selection – Beowulf Cooper (autumn 2008)

Reproduced from: Beowulf Cooper in Village Bees:  The native and near-native bees of Britain and Ireland, April 1968 When a native bee crosses with a …

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Growth in membership

The Native Irish Honey Bee Society now has over 220 members. The next edition of the Four Seasons Magazine should be out shortly. Members receive …

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The Dark Bee in … Southern England – Terry Clare (summer 2008)

As in Ireland, there are variations in environmental conditions throughout England despite both countries having oceanic climates.  For example, north of a line drawn through …

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Queen rearing – Tom Prendergast (spring 2008)

Anyone involved with industry will be familiar with the term “continuous Improvement”.  Beekeepers should adopt a similar approach and implement an improvement programme.  This can …

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Queen rearing discussion – various (spring 2008)

A panel consisting of Tom Prendergast, Micheál C. Mac Giolla Coda, Dennis Ryan, and John Donoghue led a brief but very interesting discussion on queen …

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NIHBS Conference 2023

Join us at the Tullamore Court Hotel on Friday, March 10th and Saturday, March 11th for the Native Irish Honeybee Society Conference. This exciting event will feature presentations and discussions on the latest research, techniques, and challenges facing beekeepers and honeybee conservation in Ireland.

Nominations are needed for The Sam Millar Award open for all members who support NIHBS and the Native Irish Honey Bee

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, network with fellow beekeepers, and explore the latest products and services available to support the honeybee industry.

Don’t miss out on this important event – purchase your tickets today! Tickets can be purchased online by using the button below. We look forward to seeing you at the conference 2023!

ONLINE Booking for the conference will stop on Thursday night at midnight


The Native Irish Honey Bee Society was established to promote the conservation of Apis mellifera mellifera throughout the island of Ireland. The Society strives to raise public awareness of our native honey bee and its importance, and acts in an advisory capacity to groups and individuals wishing to promote and preserve it.

What Our Native Honey Bee Looks Like

Apis mellifera mellifera (aka European dark bee) can be distinguished from other subspecies by its stocky body, overall dark coloration, plus abundant thoracic and sparse abdominal hair, which is brown. There can be heavy dark pigmentation of the wings. Overall, when viewed from a distance, these bees should appear blackish or rich dark brown.

Bee Improvement

As part of our conservation mission, NIHBS advocates that Irish beekeepers buy native bees. To that end, NIHBS is affiliated with multiple bee breeding groups located around the country. Find out more about them by clicking the button below.

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