Can you help save the Native Irish Honeybee??

By Regina Rogan

In March this year I attended the Native Irish Honeybee Society (NIHBS) Conference in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

It was very alarming to see the evidence presented by Prof. Grace Mc Cormack from NUIG on the level of hybridisation in the native Irish (black) honeybee’s population since the import into, and use of, non-native honeybees on this Island. The same imported bees that also brought us Varroa.

We have a unique sub-species of honeybees on this island: Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm). It is adapted to Irish weather conditions and forage. If imports continue, we will lose these advantageous traits acquired by Native Irish Honeybees over countless generations.

We still can make a change, perhaps over time even reverse the damage already done, and help to revert towards a true native black honeybee population.

Here’s how…….

  • Please look on the NIHBS website to see what NIHBS does to support the Native Irish Honeybee. ( )
  • Local beekeeper Associations can spread the word and encourage members, and also the public, farmers, national bodies, etc., to support the Native Irish Black Honeybee.
  • You can, as a member of Westport Beekeepers Association (WBKA), download the NIHBS Conservation Area (CA) form through the WBKA website (download link here), declare your site, apiary, farm, or any land area as a NIHBS CA. Then return the form to NIHBS at
  • The Declaration is entirely voluntary and has no legal standing but it does set a great example to others
  • You will be asked for your Conservation Area Eircode & geographical location for mapping purposes only. The Eircode is kept confidential and overseen by the NIHBS Conservation Area Officer, John Greenaway. Also a short Bio about your interest in having the CA (e.g. that you are a beekeeper with environmental interests).
  • Signage will be sent to you in either Irish or English, as per your choice, A3 or A4 usually. This to be placed in public view. Hopefully this will encourage others to join in, or at least to initiate a conversation. The first signage pack is free to NIHBS CA declarers. Further signage for CA members is €8.50 (A4), €13 (A3), and €25 (A2) per sign (cheaper in bulk).

Membership of NIHBS is €25 per year, which includes many perks including the excellent newsletter: The Four Seasons.

As part of this effort I have volunteered to be a NIHBS ‘Ammbassador’ in the hope of assisting the cause. I signed up to being an Ammbassador on the 4th April for the Mayo area, in order to promote the conservation of the Native Irish Black Honey Bee, by disseminating information, etc.

Any other interested persons can also be Ammbassadors if they choose, the more the merrier, contact Conservation Area Officer, John Greenaway, at

Currently there is a Bill being processed through the Dail, the Protection of the Native Irish Honeybee Bill 2021, which aims to ban imports of non-native honey bees. You can assist in the passing of this Bill by contacting your local party representatives and asking for their support.

Please pass this info to any interested member of the public, you do not need to be a beekeeper, member of an association, or a NIHBS s member to declare a CA.

Westport Beekeeper’s Club Apiaries have been declared NIHBS Conservation Areas and are the 100th CA on the island of Ireland to be declared. This is great news, we are putting Mayo on the CA map!!

For more information: Email:

Native Irish Honeybee.
Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm