The Black Bee

At Moy Valley Bees we are concerned about the survival and propagation of all kinds of pollinators in the West of Ireland, to support the biodiversity that is essential to all of our well-being.  In particular, though, we aim to promote the continued success of the dark European honey bee, apis mellifera mellifera      

Our own Helen Mooney has been commissioned by the Native Irish Honey Bee Society  to produce a booklet on the whole subject of genetics in the black bee

Printed copies of this booklet are available for €4.00/£4.00 from the society's web site here.   You'll find an order form to download and contact details too.

"..............................Conserving and reviving populations of the dark European honeybee is receiving a lot of attention from both beekeepers and scientists here and across Europe.  It would not be possible without the knowledge and input of both. A bit like Fibonacci and his father, caring for the craft, our culture and this remarkable creature, will reward us in ways we do not yet fully comprehend."  

Helen Mooney, Honey Bee Genetics,  

Native Irish Honey Bee Society

©  Helen Mooney  2018

The booklet is a comprehensive description of honey bee genetics and is expressly written with bee breeders in mind.   It offers an understanding of a whole range of topics, including the basic principles of inheritance in honey bee populations as well as practical tips on things like stock improvement.  We couldn't leave out the cornerstone principles outlined by Gergor Mendel: the laws of segregation & independent assortment

Back to more practical matters then, such as the impact of parthenogenesis and an explanation about why the drone's sperm are all clones but every individual drone is unique.  We cover the importance of genetic diversity because afterall, it is the  "raw material for adaptation" and adaptation is key to survival of any species. 

Sex determiniation & the dreaded "dipoid" drone is also covered as well as  what to look  out for in your colonies in terms of inbreeding, the impact of heterosis in replacing inbred strains of bee, mating behaviour, kinship & loyalty, the phenomenon of polyandry -(multiple fathers) and how this materialises in sub-families within the colony. 

Finally a quick description of modern genetic tools for assessing the genetic status of our bees here in Ireland and all of that for just €4/£4? See the full range of booklets on the NIHBS website.