Resources for Bee Breeding in Scotland


Following the successful ‘Scottish Bee Breeding and Morphometry Course’ held at Scotlandwell on 27th November 2010 we would like to offer some resources to help those interested in pursuing the breeding of native bees in Scotland. We may expand this resource over time, for example there was general agreement at the course that this is an excellent time to survey the current condition of the nation's bee stocks. A start was made at the course, and we hope to extend this effort to make a really worthwhile survey.

For those who missed it, here is the Programme for the course on the 27th. Several key people from northern Scotland were unable to come due to the severe weather, but Margie sent her talk which was given in her absence. Terry Clare gave three excellent and well-researched talks, drawing on his extensive experience. Much of Terry's material will be published later, but here is a selection of some of the other talks given through the day, plus some other relevant resources.

Talks (all as PDFs) Resources mentioned on the day Extras
This introduction to the day (1Mb) also introduces you to some of the bees you might encounter in Scotland. Here is Ruttner's classic table of the main features of the four main bee races likely to be encountered in Scotland. Jim McCulloch prepared these helpful notes on installing and running the DrawWing program (in PDF form, 4.2 Mb).
This is the location for the links to programs cited in Jim's file.
Here we present an introduction to bee genetics (770kb) Ruttner’s multivariate plot of the relationships between bee races from morphological data. As Carniolans are the most likely bee which can be confused with the native honeybee, and this bee is being spread far and wide via trade, we offer this note on Carniolans.
Prospects for Varroa resistance (1.2Mb) mentioning some of the traits which may be worth selecting. Figure on the molecular similarity between bee races from the 2006 Nature paper on the honeybee genome. We are also pleased to offer a set of hints and tips on working morphometry into your bee breeding activities.
Jim gave an excellent talk on activities on the Rosneath Peninsula.. The speech bubble in the top left gives you the speaker's notes. (2.9Mb) Terry Clare has also kindly offered us his Bee Improvement Magazine article on running local BIBBA groups.
Margie's talk on Wester Ross and Sutherland bees (4.5Mb) was particularly well received, even though she couldn't make it! Donna also produced a map (1.3 Mb JPG file) to show the locations of the Stoakleys' survey apiaries, and graphs (3.4 Mb JPG) indicating the primarily Amm nature of the bees.
Here is an expanded version of John's talk on the survey performed by the Stoakleys. (2.1Mb) Again, see the speech bubble for notes.
Donna Clark offered an introduction to GIS - Geographical Information Systems - with interesting data on Varroa distribution from her survey, but was unable to travel due to the weather. (600 kb)

If you would like to join in discussions on breeding native honeybees in Scotland please visit the Native Bees area of the SBA’s forum, SBAi.

There are discussions taking place on how to take forward a new survey of Scottish honeybees and we would welcome comments on this.

Contact us if you wish:

webmaster[at] or directly in your email program ...
... and it will be forwarded to the others.

Gavin, John, Jim and Enid
5 December 2010