Honey Bee Suppliers      V&L Honeymakers
Honey Bee Suppliers      V&L Honeymakers
Stacks Image 416
The Buckfast bee is a honey bee developed by "Brother Adam", (born Karl Kehrle in 1898 in Germany), who was in charge of beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey. In the early 20th century bee populations were being decimated by Isle of Wight disease. This condition, later called "acarine" disease, after the acarine parasitic mite that invaded the bees' tracheal tubes and shortened their lives, was killing off thousands of colonies in the British Isles in the early part of the 20th century.

Brother Adam discovered, that the surviving colonies were crossings between italian and native black bee. Buckfast bees' origin is today in these few surviving hives. Brother Adam became interested in honeybee breeding and he started in very early stage to use the isolated Dartmoor mating station for breeding purposes. There he could mate the selected queens with the selected drones.

Drones and queens only mate in flight, and they can fly over 10 km in searching for each other. Brother Adam also became interested in the various honeybee races in the world and made several long journeys in Europe, Africa and Middle-East searching for pure races or otherwise interesting local stocks.

The book "In Search of the Best Strains of Bees" tells about this huge and very important work. From these journeys and with the help of new contacts he imported new stock from other nations. Every new bee strain or bee race was first crossed with the existing Buckfast Bee. The new desired qualities were, in most cases, passed on to the new generation and the new combination was then made stable with further breeding work. Every crossing with a new race took about 10 years before the desired genes were fixed in the strain. Little by little - this work took him half a century - he managed to create this vigorous, parasite-resistant honey bee known as the Buckfast bee. It started as a hybrid, but today it is a manmade bee race among the other more natural ones. However, the extensive import of bees and queens, which started in the second half of the 19th century, has mixed all bee populations living near human settlement.
Stacks Image 417
An extremely popular choice for beekeepers due to their many favourable qualities, the main drawback is that they are liberal in their application of propolis to the inner surfaces of the hives, thus acting to defeat one of the main purposes of the modern beehive — that combs should be easily removable for inspection.

The Buckfast bees do not run on the frames, fly in cool weather conditions and are not prone to stealing, instead they are excellent honey producers and additionally, extremely gentle (some authorities rate them higher than the Italians in most categories). Colonies are noted for their gentle behaviour, high levels of honey production lack of swarming tendencies and hygienic hive conditions.

We breed our stock using carefully selected queens and as well as rearing our own buckfast queens we also import them (all our imported queens are licensed and have successfully passed through quarantine requirements in accordance with Defra regulations ).