Keeping brown bees
The Nordic brown bee was the first honey bee subspecies to colonize the northern Europe, which is why it has adapted to northern environments in many ways. The Nordic brown bee was also the first subspecies to be farmed for honey production in these areas. Now, this unique bee’s existence is threatened in its native habitat. They are, in fact, only kept in a few places in the whole of Europe. The remaining populations of this unique bee can only be conserved with successful practical beekeeping. This is why we need more beekeepers who are interested in and able to keep Apis mellifera mellifera bees.
Because of long-term adaptation to the Nordic environment, the Nordic brown bee also has some special features in its physiology, behavior, and in its responses to the environment. All this must be taken into account during the management and handling of the bee colony. This wiki is designed to help you find practical and suitable management techniques for keeping Nordic brown bees.
If you’re considering keeping Nordic (A. m. mellifera) bees, you don’t have to start with them. You can, by all means, learn the basic skills of beekeeping with other subspecies, like Italian (A. m. ligustica) or Craniolan (A. m. carnica) bees, and change your bees to A. m. mellifera bees later. Please keep in mind though, that this wiki contains information specifically tailored to Brown bees.
One reason one might want to start with another bee subspecies is that they are more widely found and thus easier to obtain. Furthermore one should find out what type of bees are already found in the vicinity of where one wants to establish a bee yard. Crossbreeding is a danger when different subspecies are found in one geographic location and at least uncontrolled hybridization should be avoided.