The European Dark Bee

The Black Bee, the German Black Bee, The Italian Bee, The European Dark Bee. Apis mellifera mellifera

This elusive and fascinating creature has many names, befitting it's great importance to the history of the European countryside.

Thought to have been almost extinct in Britain, wiped out 100 years ago by a parasite, advanced analysis by an army of volunteer specialists affiliated to the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (Bibba), has shown that there are populations in north Wales, east Anglia and as far south as West Sussex.  

European Black Bee.jpg

Aside from the vulnerability to a particular parasite known as Isle of Wight disease, the Black Bee is a hardy soul. It's extremely well suited to the UK climate and is a prolific honey maker, producing enough to last out our long and cold winters. It can fly in wet weather and in temperatures as low as 2 degrees centigrade. As a native species, it is so well suited to our climate that the UK's beekeepers are working hard to identify where it's genes are strong and to cultivate colonies. 

The story of the black bee guides us to what is possible with concerted conservation efforts and shows us that together, we can all #bringthebeesback. 

Ben Davidson