Easy bee breeding - Mini-grafting of larvae 24 hours old - get your grubs from a friendly Buckfast beekeeper!

IBBA  The Irish Buckfast Beekeepers’ Association  is affiliated to the Federation of European Buckfast Beekeepers’ Associations (GdeB)

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Buckfast bee change in the second generation?
If a Buckfast queen mates with Buckfast drones the result will be Buckfast bees, even after many generations.

Why is there still cross breeding?
The Buckfast bee is not static. There is no such thing like THE Buckfast bee. Simultaneously to line breeding a constant improvement of the breeding resource is performed. The basic strain can be adapted to new requirements whenever necessary.

What is the influence of the Buckfast bee on the locally kept other strains?
The German Bee Research Institutes have carried out a project for several years. No negative influences have been found. In the contrary: The local bees have substantially improved regarding docility and productivity. These results are ignored on purpose by certain groups of beekeepers.

Is a specific management required?
No. But by keeping the Buckfast bee a number of specific manipulations for increasing the amount of honey collected are made possible because of her prolific quality and the reduced swarming tendency. Early and late crops can both be used. Buckfast bees nevertheless need an appropriate space as available in a Dadant hive, the type of hive they were bred for originally.

Will I get more honey when keeping Buckfast bees?
The Buckfast bee cannot perform miracles, but using a specific management considering the needs of the Buckfast bee a constant good and most of the time excellent result can be achieved.

Can I breed my own queen bees?
There can be good results by having your queens mated at your own apiary depending on your location. You do not have to buy new queens every year. We would encourage you to join a breeding group in order to have even better results and to support the whole community of Buckfast beekeepers.

Brother Adam’s Buckfast Bee

The origin of the Buckfast bee was the cross-breeding of the dark, leather brown Apis mellifera ligustica of Northern Italy and the former British variety of the black Apis mellifera mellifera present before 1920.
Brother Adam had selected his stock for productive power, for being prolific, resistant to diseases, and overwintering qualities. An important remark of his explains the background of his breeding endeavours: “There is no such thing like a perfect honey bee. She has to be ‘created’ by man.” He never really “completed” his breeding efforts; continually he detected new challenges for bee culture.
His breeding method was based on the idea that all strains of the European honeybee are closely related and can be traced back to a common origin, a history quite similar to human evolution and that of other mammals. To comments about his ‘foreign’ race of a bee he answered usually with a knowing smile.
The improvement of the Buckfast strain did not end with Brother Adam’s death. Well known breeders are constantly working at the preservation and the further development of this strain.
The Buckfast bee is especially popular among professional beekeepers. She is docile, prolific and has a very low swarming tendency. Strong colonies achieve good results in honey production and the docile behaviour facilitates a quick and easy working in comparison to other breeds.

The Buckfast Bee today

The ‘Breeding’ of Buckfast bees is related to the idea of Prof. Armbruster as well as to the practical work of Brother Adam and contains three principle ways of breeding:
Combination Breeding
in order to maintain the results achieved in breeding
This way of breeding is progressive, meaning open for new findings in breeding the honeybee, the genetic make-up of the population as well as genetic engineering. It also supports scientific work relative to the genetics of the honeybee, if the aim is useful for attaining the breeding objective.
The breeding history is documented in pedigrees. This is a transparent process. Records of approximately 4000 breeding queens can be found on the website of the European Buckfast Beekeepers Federation. You can also view the breeding results of any particular bee breeder recommended by the Federation.

The Purpose of Breeding
The intended result of breeding is a population of bees as docile as well as prolific, resistant to diseases, productive and well adapted to their given environment. We want colonies facilitating a quick check and ensuring viable beekeeping.
The aforementioned is achieved by taking into consideration the specific relationship among the strains of honeybees while simultaneously retaining the genetic diversity of the population.