small black bee

ZO-Brabant

varroamijt

Photo: Gilles San Martin

 

We are beekeepers who have had enough of the current methods of combating varroa mites. We think it must be possible to achieve the same goal through other means. Some members of our group have already started to select bees for the varroa resistance trait. So-called Primorsky bees have been used for this for several years.

In 2014, one of us came into contact with beekeepers who successfully use the small cell method. In the same year he also started doing this, together with a few colleagues.

In the winter of 2015, it was decided to use the original West European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) as the starting point for this. Hence the chosen name small black bee. We hope to be able to set this up more broadly in the coming years.

As said, one of the ways means that we want to make the honeybee smaller again. Instead of foundation with cells of 5.4 mm we switch to combs with cells of 4.9 mm. The honey bees were smaller about 150 years ago. By using these small cells together with a number of other adaptations, we think we can take one step on the road to bees, which therefore experience less stress and are likely to have more resistance. We also think that the original West European bee (Apis mellifera mellifera - the black bee) will have more resistance here than the other varieties and hybrids imported here, which include Apis mellifera carnica, Apis mellifera ligustica and Buckfast. A third important factor will be the reduction of pesticides in agriculture and horticulture and more and better nutrition for bees.

Our goal

Eliminate as many stress factors that the bees have to deal with as possible, and thus breed bees that can independently control the Varroa mite.