Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society

Latest NIHBS News

Wexford puts wildflowers back on the roadside

Irish Times article
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Belfast Queen rearing group photos

Willy Blakely in full charge of a group of beekeepers learning the grafting process Willy Blakely and Stephen Moore working to fill a frame with ...
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Eco-Unesco Environmental Awards 2013

The overall winner of the ECO-UNESCO BIO-Diversity Award, was a bee project on the Native Irish Honey Bee, which focused on grooming traits to combat ...
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Belfast queen rearing group

Belfast queen rearing group meets again this Monday evening at 7.00pm at the Minnowburn apiary. There will be a demonstration of how to set up ...
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Dromore queen rearing group – some photos

Dromore queen rearing group is meeting every Saturday morning at Tullyhenan apiary near Banbridge. The first meeting of the season was held yesterday, Saturday 8th ...
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Nosema Workshop Galway

Advance Science, the producers of HiveAliveTM, in partnership with the National University of Ireland Galway, is organising an evening workshop entitled “Nosema Workshop: Identifying your ...
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Available to Purchase

“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.

NIHBS Booklet 2024

Interested in learning about our conservation efforts and our mission to eliminate imports?

Download the newest edition of our Native Irish Honey Bee Society Booklet to find out more about who we are and what we do.

Explore our commitment to protecting Ireland’s native honeybee population, including our initiatives to conserve their habitats and promote sustainable beekeeping practices.

Discover how we aim to eliminate reliance on imported bees, ensuring the preservation of our unique bee genetics and the health of our local ecosystems. Plus, learn how you can join us in our mission and make a difference for our precious pollinators.

Become a Patron of NIHBS

By becoming a Patron of the Native Irish Honey Bee Society, you’re not just supporting a cause; you’re investing in the future of our environment, agriculture, and the delicate balance of the Irish ecosystem. Your contribution aids in the preservation of a subspecies integral to the biodiversity of Ireland. You’re not just supporting the bees; you’re becoming a vital part of the community dedicated to preserving and celebrating the incredible Native Irish Honey bee. You can become a patron for as little as €1 – if you are comfortable paying more simply adjust the volume.

Thank you for your support!


Interested in setting up a NIHBS Conservation Area?

Setting up a conservation area for our Native Honey Bees is a crucial step towards preserving their population and ensuring their survival for generations to come. We hope you will 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.

  •  NIHBS Conservation Areas are areas of land, gardens or wild spaces where there is an agreement not to place hives, or allow colonies of, non-native honey bees. 
  • NIHBS Conservation Areas are designed to be “safe havens” for our localised native honey bees (Amm). As more of these CA’s are set up, essential “Corridors of Conservation” are being created throughout the island of Ireland. 
  • These corridors will provide safe spaces for local bees and for effective native honey bee queen rearing and help to prevent further hybridisation and disease brought about through the importation of non-native honey bees. 
  • We currently have nearly 240 of these – NIHBS Conservation Areas are growing in number at an ever increasing rate. Across the island of Ireland people are excited that they can help do something meaningful to help save our Native Irish Honey Bee.
  •  Any interested Person or Organisation can volunteer to create a NIHBS Conservation Area (CA). You may already keep or look after native Irish honey bees but there is no requirement to actually have honey bees, be a member of a Beekeepers Association, or have an Apiary.
  • You can learn more about the efforts of some of our NIHBS CA’s by reading Bio’s listed on, nihbs.org, Whatwedo/Conservation/Bios 

Drop our Conservation Area Officer an email by clicking the “Find Out More” Button on your right. Tell us a little about the proposed location and layout of the CA, Eircode/Postcode and any other information you think relevant for NIHBS to consider. 


Signage for NIHBS Conservation Areas

  • Professional standard signs, are available in English or Irish. They are only available to declared NIHBS Conservation Areas.  Should you need more information about NIHBS Conservation Areas refer to the guidance details on our website homepagenihbs.org, or send  an email to nihbs.conservation@gmail.com
  • The initial batch of signs are supplied at no charge but we do ask for Photos once the signs are erected on site.
  • Where additional signs are required, the Euro price list shown here applies. Just ask our Conservation Area Officer for availability and an invoice, nihbs.conservation@gmail.com
Size Price for 1 Price for 2 Price for 3 Price for 4
A4 €8.50 €15.50 €22.00 €30.00
A3 €13.00 €23.00 €34.00 €40.00
A2 €25.00 €45.00 €65.00 €85.00
Thank you very much for your support!

About NIHBS

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.

Join NIHBS Today