European Dark Bee

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Other common names: Black Bee; German Black Bee; Pomeranian Brown Bee; Alps Black Bee; Black Scandinavian Bee

Scientific name: Apis mellifera mellifera

The basics:
The European Dark Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), is a subspecies of the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera). The European Honey Bee is one of seven recognized species of honey bee, and is the most commonly domesticated species of honey bee (the other being the Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana)).

The European Honey Bee is believed to have originated in eastern tropical Africa and spread from there to Northern Europe and eastwards into Asia. There are many subspecies which have adapted to local geographic and climatic environments. The European Dark Bee originated from Britain to eastern Central Europe. Apis mellifera mellifera is no longer a significant commercial subspecies of the European Dark Bee, but there are a number of dedicated hobbyist beekeepers that keep these bees in Europe and other parts of the world.

Also see listings for other types of European Honey Bee: Buckfast Bee; Carniolan Honey Bee; Italian Honey Bee.

Appearance / health:
The European dark bee can be distinguished from other subspecies by their stocky body, abundant thoracal and sparse abdominal hair which is brown, and overall dark coloration; in nigra, there is also heavy dark pigmentation of the wings. Overall, when viewed from a distance, they should appear blackish, or in mellifera, rich dark brown. The aggressive feral hybrids with other subspecies can be distinguished by the lighter, yellowish banding on the sides of the abdomen, but this is often difficult. For breeding pure dark bees according to the standard, details of the wing veins are nowadays considered to be the only reliable distinguishing character.

Behavior / temperament:
All honey bees live in colonies where the worker bees will sting intruders as a form of defense, and alarmed bees will release a pheromone that stimulates the attack response in other bees. Some beekeepers believe that the more stings a beekeeper receives, the less irritation each causes, and they consider it important for safety of the beekeeper to be stung a few times a season. Beekeepers have high levels of antibodies (mainly IgG) reacting to the major antigen of bee venom, phospholipase A2 (PLA). Antibodies correlate with the frequency of bee stings.

Beekeeping (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and beeswax, to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard". A domesticated bee colony is normally housed in a rectangular hive body, within which eight to ten parallel frames house the vertical plates of honeycomb which contain the eggs, larvae, pupae and food for the colony.

Beekeepers typically use movable frame hives. Straw skeps, bee gums, and unframed box hives are now unlawful in most US states, as the comb and brood cannot be inspected for diseases. However, straw skeps are still used for collecting swarms by hobbyists in the UK, before moving them into standard hives.


honey producer, important pollinators, extremely rewarding pasttime, important hobby, surprising yield


average honey yield, varroa mite, Colony Collapse Disorder, Need intensive checking, challenge bees


bee suits, british black bees, dark honey bees

Helpful European Dark Bee Review

European Dark Bee

From Phin Hall Jan 20 2013 12:24PM


European Dark Bee Health Tip

European Dark Bee

From DLlE Sep 12 2012 9:02AM


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