Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society

Available to Purchase Below

“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?

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 140 of these NIHBS Conservation Areas across the whole island.
  •  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. 


Latest NIHBS News

Modified Version of the Artificial Swarm – Jim Donohue (summer 2008)

The classic method of artificial swarm (Pagden ) advocates that the Queen and the frame she is found on should be placed in the new
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Memories of starting beekeeping – Micheál Byrne (summer 2007)

I grew up on a mixed farm, too many years ago now to remember.  In the summer time, in order to keep me out of
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UBKA at Balmoral Show

The Ulster Beekeepers’ Association has a stand at this year’s Balmoral Show, 15th -17th May.  
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Identification of honeybees with resistance to varroa – Dennis Ryan (spring 2007)

Much research worldwide is now devoted to identifying bees with disease resistant traits, especially bees resistant to varroa.  The mite levels can be reduced by
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Inserting Foundation in Apideas – Jim Ryan (winter 2006)

Maybe I am all fingers and thumbs but one area I have had a problem with in the past was inserting a small piece of foundation
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Worker Policing in Honeybees – Dave Cushman (winter 2006)

Worker Ovary Development In a queenright honey bee colony, the workers have ovaries but are rarely fertile (only about 1 Apis mellifera worker in 10,000
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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

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