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StevieD 

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Hi everyone, Does anybody know any good books or general info about keeping the British black bee, as I would like to give them a try,
I have 2 hives of buckfasts which were very aggressive last year and although I have good neighbours i don't think they will take kindly to being chased out of their garden two years in a row
 

Ian123 

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You may want to talk to Northern Bee books something likehttps://www.northernbeebooks.co.uk/product-category/beowulf-a-cooper/
Also BIBBA must have a book list. You say your buckfasts are chasing the neighbours. Who did you purchase them off, are they actually Buckfast or generations down the line. No race strain or mongrel is a silver bullet. I keep Buckfast and there as quiet as they come inc my first generation queens that I raise. Once you get past that there more mongrel than anything else. It’s down to the beek to be selective and take action. Ian
 
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StevieD 

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Hi thankyou for the reply, i have ordered the book.
The buckfast queens came from a breeder in the buckfast area and were supposed to be pure but my hives changed dramatically when they were put in. i was regularly attacked with the bees covering my visor to the point were I could no see through them and when I did manage to escape to the house, they would still be attacking the door I went in 30 mins later, that was the first time I have ever been frightened keeping bees, anyway the queens are no more now so problem solved
 

RichardBeeW 

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Hi thankyou for the reply, i have ordered the book.
The buckfast queens came from a breeder in the buckfast area and were supposed to be pure but my hives changed dramatically when they were put in. i was regularly attacked with the bees covering my visor to the point were I could no see through them and when I did manage to escape to the house, they would still be attacking the door I went in 30 mins later, that was the first time I have ever been frightened keeping bees, anyway the queens are no more now so problem solved
Sorry to hear of your problems, Stevie, and I hope it doesn't dampen your enthusiasm and joy in beekeeping in the future, it doesn't sound as though it will. @Ian123 gave some sound advice I think. The Beowulf Cooper book is excellent (despite his being a fan of matchsticks under the crownboards through the winter - but only for his beloved black bees). If you become a member of BIBBA (which includes being a member of NATBIP - the National Bee Improvement Program) you can actually still download the Beowulf Cooper book for free as a .pdf. Although you've already ordered a real-world copy it's nice to have that on your laptop, tablet or phone if ever you're parked up in your car etc.
BIBBA also have a really useful and quickly growing collection of videos to watch, free whether you're a member or not. Roger Patterson, who is a very 'individual person' delivers many of them and I personally like him and his no-nonsense approach to beekeeping. Every beekeeper will have a different view, of course, but for me his 50 years of experience that he passes on freely has been both very entertaining and useful. They also have other guest speakers and it's an ongoing project.
You can find their videos (and links to all their other pages) here >>>
Do consider joining BIBBA (which was founded as the Village Breeders Association by Beowulf Cooper and others, it doesn't cost a great deal) if you find their content and aims in line with your views, my wife and I have and hope that they are able to continue in their work and continue to educate and assist many lovers of the 'native black bee' in Great Britain and Ireland.
As a final note a very good book I've purchased is >>>
The Principles of Bee Improvement by Jo Widdicombe
who is also one of the leading lights of BIBBA.
This book is still in print and if you don't like exclusively supporting Amazon it can be found on AbeBooks (an amalgamation of small book sellers) and, I'd think, Northern Bee Books.
I hope that's not too long winded! And I hope you (and we all) go on to have a fantastic summer ahead of us.
Bee happy!
1617788619965.png
 

B+. 

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Sorry to hear of your problems, Stevie, and I hope it doesn't dampen your enthusiasm and joy in beekeeping in the future, it doesn't sound as though it will. @Ian123 gave some sound advice I think. The Beowulf Cooper book is excellent (despite his being a fan of matchsticks under the crownboards through the winter - but only for his beloved black bees). If you become a member of BIBBA (which includes being a member of NATBIP - the National Bee Improvement Program) you can actually still download the Beowulf Cooper book for free as a .pdf. Although you've already ordered a real-world copy it's nice to have that on your laptop, tablet or phone if ever you're parked up in your car etc.
BIBBA also have a really useful and quickly growing collection of videos to watch, free whether you're a member or not. Roger Patterson, who is a very 'individual person' delivers many of them and I personally like him and his no-nonsense approach to beekeeping. Every beekeeper will have a different view, of course, but for me his 50 years of experience that he passes on freely has been both very entertaining and useful. They also have other guest speakers and it's an ongoing project.
You can find their videos (and links to all their other pages) here >>>
Do consider joining BIBBA (which was founded as the Village Breeders Association by Beowulf Cooper and others, it doesn't cost a great deal) if you find their content and aims in line with your views, my wife and I have and hope that they are able to continue in their work and continue to educate and assist many lovers of the 'native black bee' in Great Britain and Ireland.
As a final note a very good book I've purchased is >>>
The Principle of Bee Improvement by Jo Widdicombe
who is also one of the leading lights of BIBBA.
This book is still in print and if you don't like exclusively supporting Amazon it can be found on AbeBooks (an amalgamation of small book sellers) and, I'd think, Northern Bee Books.
I hope that's not too long winded! And I hope you (and we all) go on to have a fantastic summer ahead of us.
Bee happy!
View attachment 25303
If you can find any actual "principles" in there, let me know.
No doubt it appeals to those with a particular "mind-set" but, as a book on bee improvement, it's a waste of time.
 

Vartusmeister 

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Hi thankyou for the reply, i have ordered the book.
The buckfast queens came from a breeder in the buckfast area and were supposed to be pure but my hives changed dramatically when they were put in. i was regularly attacked with the bees covering my visor to the point were I could no see through them and when I did manage to escape to the house, they would still be attacking the door I went in 30 mins later, that was the first time I have ever been frightened keeping bees, anyway the queens are no more now so problem solved
OMG, that story is really like in a horror movie.

I have three queens: one AMM from Colonsay, one Carniolan from a breeder and one Buckfast looking which is marked, but actually was caught with a swarm. Although all of the quiet ones, the Buckfast colony is the only one that follows when I leave and "greet" when I arrive at the apiary. They never stung me even without a veil, they are like wee midges, circling around my head which is quite annoying. I think from this point on, only a small step and can become nasty ones, so I am not really sure if I want to see any more Buckfasts around me in the future.

The carnies are tame and nice behaving ones, but the colony is nearly filled two national BB`s (I am at 8+8 frames, 3-4 frames left with stores or empty, the rest is full with brood), so I supered them up and I am very careful because they have already capped drone brood present.

The AMM colony is also friendly, but they built up last year and this year as well slowly, seems much more balanced and in line with the local climate. I seriously think that this is my way forward, not the two others, even if I like carnies as well.
 

madasafish 

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Sorry to hear of your problems, Stevie, and I hope it doesn't dampen your enthusiasm and joy in beekeeping in the future, it doesn't sound as though it will. @Ian123 gave some sound advice I think. The Beowulf Cooper book is excellent (despite his being a fan of matchsticks under the crownboards through the winter - but only for his beloved black bees). If you become a member of BIBBA (which includes being a member of NATBIP - the National Bee Improvement Program) you can actually still download the Beowulf Cooper book for free as a .pdf. Although you've already ordered a real-world copy it's nice to have that on your laptop, tablet or phone if ever you're parked up in your car etc.
BIBBA also have a really useful and quickly growing collection of videos to watch, free whether you're a member or not. Roger Patterson, who is a very 'individual person' delivers many of them and I personally like him and his no-nonsense approach to beekeeping. Every beekeeper will have a different view, of course, but for me his 50 years of experience that he passes on freely has been both very entertaining and useful. They also have other guest speakers and it's an ongoing project.
You can find their videos (and links to all their other pages) here >>>
Do consider joining BIBBA (which was founded as the Village Breeders Association by Beowulf Cooper and others, it doesn't cost a great deal) if you find their content and aims in line with your views, my wife and I have and hope that they are able to continue in their work and continue to educate and assist many lovers of the 'native black bee' in Great Britain and Ireland.
As a final note a very good book I've purchased is >>>
The Principles of Bee Improvement by Jo Widdicombe
who is also one of the leading lights of BIBBA.
This book is still in print and if you don't like exclusively supporting Amazon it can be found on AbeBooks (an amalgamation of small book sellers) and, I'd think, Northern Bee Books.
I hope that's not too long winded! And I hope you (and we all) go on to have a fantastic summer ahead of us.
Bee happy!
View attachment 25303

The first 30 pages of that book are waffle with unverified claims about the superiority of the Black Bee.

But not one fact or study was quoted.

If it was an examination paper, the examiner would have said my comments were "far too restrained".

By far the worst book on bee breeding I have read.
 

RichardBeeW 

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Oh no! The WORST beekeeping book I've ever read is -
Keep Bees without Fuss or Chemicals by Joe Bleasdale
which, if I have understood it, suggests to me the ethos is - catch some swarms, don't treat then, when they are dead . . . catch some swarms, don't treat then . . . There's even a chart in there that shows how it's done! At least, to me, that's what it seemed to be suggesting 😟😟😟 Maybe some here have read it and love it?
As a swarm it seems pot luck on who takes you in.
 

StevieD 

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Sorry to hear of your problems, Stevie, and I hope it doesn't dampen your enthusiasm and joy in beekeeping in the future, it doesn't sound as though it will. @Ian123 gave some sound advice I think. The Beowulf Cooper book is excellent (despite his being a fan of matchsticks under the crownboards through the winter - but only for his beloved black bees). If you become a member of BIBBA (which includes being a member of NATBIP - the National Bee Improvement Program) you can actually still download the Beowulf Cooper book for free as a .pdf. Although you've already ordered a real-world copy it's nice to have that on your laptop, tablet or phone if ever you're parked up in your car etc.
BIBBA also have a really useful and quickly growing collection of videos to watch, free whether you're a member or not. Roger Patterson, who is a very 'individual person' delivers many of them and I personally like him and his no-nonsense approach to beekeeping. Every beekeeper will have a different view, of course, but for me his 50 years of experience that he passes on freely has been both very entertaining and useful. They also have other guest speakers and it's an ongoing project.
You can find their videos (and links to all their other pages) here >>>
Do consider joining BIBBA (which was founded as the Village Breeders Association by Beowulf Cooper and others, it doesn't cost a great deal) if you find their content and aims in line with your views, my wife and I have and hope that they are able to continue in their work and continue to educate and assist many lovers of the 'native black bee' in Great Britain and Ireland.
As a final note a very good book I've purchased is >>>
The Principles of Bee Improvement by Jo Widdicombe
who is also one of the leading lights of BIBBA.
This book is still in print and if you don't like exclusively supporting Amazon it can be found on AbeBooks (an amalgamation of small book sellers) and, I'd think, Northern Bee Books.
I hope that's not too long winded! And I hope you (and we all) go on to have a fantastic summer ahead of us.
Bee happy!
View attachment 25303
i joined bibba last week but found there website difficult to navigate and gave up trying to find information on there. you cant even ring a number as there are no contact details
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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i joined bibba last week but found there website difficult to navigate and gave up trying to find information on there. you cant even ring a number as there are no contact details
because its a secret! you can't have people knowing things.
 

RichardBeeW 

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i joined bibba last week but found there website difficult to navigate and gave up trying to find information on there. you cant even ring a number as there are no contact details
Sorry to hear that, Stevie. There is a Contact page with, I think 9 or 10 emails, which will probably provide an answer to most questions as well as a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. The Contact page is >>>
You can also send a question, through their FAQs page, via this form >>>
but I'm sure if you ask any questions here on this forum people much more qualified than I am will answer them for you. Just remember, if you ask six beekeepers a question you'll get at least seven opposing views!
 

ericbeaumont 

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one Buckfast looking
Not a Buckfast, then; more likely a subsequent offspring.
The buckfast queens came from a breeder in the buckfast area and were supposed to be pure but my hives changed dramatically when they were put in
Seems a missed opportunity to raise the issue with the supplier. Were they marked? Supersedure of introduced queens is common and local mating of daughters may explain the bad temper.

Good Buckfast are very good but it all depends on the mating methods used and the source of breeding material; what persuaded you to choose the Devon supplier?

I knew a beekeeper who started out using only Ged Marshall's Buckfast and got to about the 9th generation before he noticed a decline in temper, and that was marginal; he had good crops from very strong colonies.
 

StevieD 

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seemed a good advert at a reasonable price. Tried ringing a few times when the trouble started but never any answer
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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seemed a good advert at a reasonable price. Tried ringing a few times when the trouble started but never any answer
looks like you bought them from a cowboy. Just because he was from the Buckfast area, doesn't mean they were buckfasts, in fact, the majority of Buckfasts nowadays are bred nowhere near there.
 

Ian123 

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Hi steve I’ll say from the start most my hives are bucks but over the years have had tried many types/races. I gave you an honest/helpful reply at the start and will do again now! For me in my area bucks outperform on average all others I’ve tried in most aspects, also the easy availability of good breeders from good suppliers. Forget the response from vartusmeister anyone saying I caught a swarm it looked like a buckfast!!is really stretching it and I’m being polite. I’ve got some island mated buck queens as dark as anything. Colour is not a good guide. If I made a guess I’d suggest your supplier was using cheap first cross queens and selling on, so at best a couple of generations from any type of breeder. I can’t see your location but if your anywhere near me I’ll make you an offer. Come down and inspect some buckfast hives with me I’ll be wearing shorts T-shirt and on a bad day May put a veil over my head.😉
 

Goodwood 

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the majority of my hives are now Buckfast. All queens from reputable breeders. A lot of tut-tutting from a few people....But it has transformed my enjoyment of beekeeping and my yields. I try and keep my main apiary 100% Buckfast to limit cross breeding - we are lucky in this regard as we are fairly isolated. Any doubt on temperament on succeeding generation queens then they are dispatched and a new one bought in. If you are unlucky then 2nd generation be careful and especially 3rd.
 

Jo Widdicombe 

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The first 30 pages of that book are waffle with unverified claims about the superiority of the Black Bee.

But not one fact or study was quoted.

If it was an examination paper, the examiner would have said my comments were "far too restrained".

By far the worst book on bee breeding I have read.
Just because you did not understand the book, it does not make it a bad book, possibly because you approached with a closed mind. About 99 out of 100 seem to understand it.
The first 30 pages or so were to explain the theories regarding bee improvement; the next part of the book was to test those theories by putting them into practice to see if they hold true. The conclusion was that the theories do in fact hold true and that we can improve the quality the quality of our bees through simple assessment and selection processes.
The book was never intended to be a regurgitation of other people's scientific papers. Those that want can go direct to these without me trying to prove a point.
As for principles, there are ten principles written up at the end of the book for those, like you, who missed them on the way through. The fact that the system works, to me, shows that the book cannot be as bad as you think.
If people are determined to stick to their imported bees, and not wanting to consider any alternative, it is to be expected that they would not get anything out of the book.
 
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robmort 

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I bought a Buckfast queen last year from a breeder on Ebay, and they've been the most docile bees I have and the others hives are docile. Productive too.
 

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