Quantcast

Native / Imported Hybrids

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

beesrus 

New Bee
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
63
Reaction score
0
Location
Stockport
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2 Main, 3 Nucs
Hello,
I am v.new to bee keeping and about to purchase a nucleus or two to get started.

What i was wondering is whether the majority of UK bee keepers prefer to keep hybrid imported species or should we all be helping our native honey bees?

Let me know your thoughts because i need to decide, quickly!

Many Thanks
 

MJBee 

Drone Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
0
Location
Dordogne 24360 France
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
I think the "native British bee" is a very rare insect, although I know some on this forum are trying to find a pure strain.

The best advice I can give is start with a local strain that have proven suitable to your area's forage and climate. Buying in bees that have been bred 100s of miles further south is not a good idea.

Your local BKA should be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck.
:cheers2: Mike
 

beesrus 

New Bee
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
63
Reaction score
0
Location
Stockport
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2 Main, 3 Nucs
Good Advice - Many thanks
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
2,433
Reaction score
0
Location
Kingsbridge, South Devon
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
0 - Now in beeless retirement!
If you find a source of true native bees let us know as they are like hens' teeth to buy.

I think in general terms there are two sorts of nuc you can buy.

The first are made up with a queen which has been reared outside the UK and which is added to bees raised in the UK. Some of these are sold as packages, i.e. literally a box of loose bees you tip into your hive.

The second have both bees and queens raised by the bee breeder in the UK. These could be of any strain but most will simply be the "local" bee the breeder has been using for years.

You do hear about complete hives of bees being imported but the general consensus is these are to be avoided and probably should be banned.

There are strong views about this subject but the reality is both type described above will work in the first season but the imported queen is unlikely to match your local bees and the resulting first generation crosses can be of somehat uncertain temperament in subsequent years.

My advice would be to source bees from as near to you as possible and from a breeder who raises his own queens. This is also likely to be the cheapest route, short of waiting for a swarm to fall out of the sky.
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
2
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
I am going to nit pick here for the sake of clarity.

A package is a package and NOT a nuc. A package contains no brood or combs, comprising a declared weight of bees and a mated queen. The usual weights are 3 or 5 lbs, and of course you pay more for 5.

A nuc has a mated queen and is usually 5 frames containing in that number a stated number of brood frames. The price will vary as per the frames of brood, and of course from vendor to vendor.

Please do not confuse the two items as they are very very different.

Which is preferable? I would say the Nucleus, preferably with between 3 to four frames of brood which in a reasonable season will take off nicely and should produce some honey too and so is the ideal beginners introduction.

PH
 

Chris B 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,205
Reaction score
0
Location
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
300
Stats on Bee Base show there were around 11,000 queens imported last year 2009. If 274,000 is a reliable estimate for number of colonies in the U.K. then even if the average queen lives 2 years, we still have less than 10% of our bees headed by queens reared abroad. Of the remaining 90%+ most will be mixed race.

In theory I agree with the idea of taking a locally adapted strain. BUT you have to ask the question what breeding selection criteria are being applied to enable a local strain to emerge. If your local beekeepers are not breeding selectively according to desirable traits then you will end up with swarmy bees and quite likely poor temper too. In that case you'll be better off with bees from a few hundred miles away from a good breeder - unfortunately they aren't easy to find either.

To be honest though, I wouldn't worry unduly about getting the "wrong" type of bee. Nothing is perfect and queens are replaced regularly, by beekeepers or by bees, so whatever you get is only temporary.
 

lazybee 

New Bee
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
49
Reaction score
0
Location
France
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
4
In short all UK bees are hybrids. Personally I don't think the pure race can possibly exist intact after 100+ years of imports and cross breeding. The UK is too small for isolated pockets of unadulterated bees to survive. Many people claim to have them, but common sense dictates otherwise. There are very few that can even breed true to type. The buckfast bee isn't even to the standard it used to be. The best thing to do, when selecting bees is, find out who has gentle bees in your area and get bees off them. You can't control drones so the next couple of seasons will be pot luck. The first generation may be good, but the daughter queen offspring could be a pain in the butt. A great many of the bee suppliers sell bees that are good at producing bees, thousands and thousands of bees. Other traits are less important (like honey surplus, swarming)when your business is selling live bees That's what you want. Most people live in areas where there is a overlap with other bees. For example I now live in France but I have two feral colonies on my land and my neighbour has one in his roof. So buying a claimed pure breed is a waste of money. So to sum up: You can't close the stable door after the horse bolted 100yrs before.
 

worrywort 

New Bee
Joined
Dec 25, 2009
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
Location
Gravesend, Kent, uk
Hive Type
national
Hello Beesrus.
get a local swarn or nucleus and learn the basics. The question You asked is ten years away. That may seem a long time, but it means ten times swarming, ten hectic summers and ten winters to get through. Not so big after all.
 

Stiffy 

Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
2,282
Reaction score
3
Location
Kernow
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
50+
Hello,
I am v.new to bee keeping and about to purchase a nucleus or two to get started.

What i was wondering is whether the majority of UK bee keepers prefer to keep hybrid imported species or should we all be helping our native honey bees?

Let me know your thoughts because i need to decide, quickly!

Many Thanks
The advice I was given was to start with any bees you can get your hands on because in your first year/s you are going to balls up anyway! I have 5 hives (at present) from 3 different sources and find bees I bought locally (Sputnams) to be easiest and a real pleasure to deal with, these I think will in future years form the basis of my stock but things may change.
Most important thing is to enjoy them and have fun.
Cheers
 

SixFooter 

Drone Bee
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
0
Location
Merseyside
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
12
I have wondered if beekeepers' preference for local bees and the tendency to raise their own queens doesnt lead to inbreeding. Isnt it true that obtaining bees from a remote source will improve the gene pool in the area?
 

hedgerow pete 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
3,660
Reaction score
3
Location
UK, Birmingham, Sandwell. Pork scratching Bandit c
Hive Type
national
thats a realy valid point , what i was trying to do was to buy a pair of new queens so i can start a breeding programe for my queens but because of lack of money are that the few people i could talk to , there were differing stories of quaility so i have decided to improve my own bees
 

SixFooter 

Drone Bee
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
0
Location
Merseyside
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
12
Actually, I wasnt trying to make a point. It was a genuine question as I'm new to beekeeping.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
2,433
Reaction score
0
Location
Kingsbridge, South Devon
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
0 - Now in beeless retirement!
Providing you don't live on an island the chances of inbreeding between your bees is reasonably slight as the drones will fly some considerable distance to find a mate. Beekeepers on the Scily Isles brought in some new queens a few years ago in an attempt to avoid inbreeding but this shouldn't be a problem in say Wiltshire. (Please note: I am talking about bees here not humans!)

The classic sign of inbreeding is very spotty brood - due to workers removing diploid drone eggs in worker cells. The larva are eaten by the workers.

David Woodward's book Queen Bee goes into this subject in some depth. The discussion of genetics in the book I found heavy going but after re-reading passages it began to sink in! I recommend the book if you want some background on queen rearing and the science and practice behind it.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top