Beekeepers may select bees to suit their particular location or environment, such as greater tolerance to harsher weather conditions. Some beekeepers choose their bees based on temperament or honey production.
Increasingly, it is recognised that it is important to select bees that will be suited to the geographical location in which they are kept . Scientists make the point that genetic adaptations can be regional, therefore it does not make sense to attempt to keep bees in an environment to which they are ill-adapted (more about this below).
However, here are 5 types of honey bee most commonly considered by beekeepers (this may depend on location):
In no particular order:
Probably the world's most widely distributed honey bee. However, may need higher levels of maintenance and feeding support in order to survive in cooler climates.
Favoured by some beekeepers, but it is worth bearing in mind that these bees evolved in a geographic region where summers are warm, but short, whilst winters are cold and long. If you are beekeeping in conditions similar to this, Apis mellifera carnica may be the right choice for you. You will need to ensure there is ample supply of suitable nectar and pollen available from as early as possible in spring.
This honey bee has the longest tongue of Western honey bee sub-species. Reputed to be gentle.
Very much favoured by some, especially in northern Europe where it is well adapted to the cooler climate.
This hybrid, the Buckfast Bee evolved from the efforts of brother Adam (1898 - 1996) at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England. His intention was to produce a disease-resistant, productive and good-tempered bee. It is important to find a reliable breeder.
Scientist, beekeeper and author, and world authority on honey bees, Professor Thomas D. Seeley, makes some very important observations with regard to the genetic adaptations of honey bee subspecies to a geographical location. For anyone with an interest in beekeeping, his book The Lives Of Bees is not to be missed! Quoted from chapter 11:
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