A social enterprise specialising in honey bee genetics and DNA analysis to characterise genetic admixture and identify the sources of forage visited by honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees.
Founded by Expert Beekeeper and Honey Bee Research Scientist, Dr Mark Barnett (Roslin Institute), Population Geneticist and Bioinformatician Dr David Wragg (Roslin Institute) and Expert Beekeeper and Information Scientist Matthew Richardson (University of Edinburgh), its mission is to help beekeepers and bee farmers select and breed their preferred type of honey bee in the UK.
The preferred type of bee depends on the individual beekeeper and might be the native honey bee subspecies or a honey bee that is very productive or disease resistant or with a very gentle temperament suitable for teaching purposes.
The aim is to give beekeepers more control over the types of honey bees kept in their apiaries and enable them to select preferred stock themselves without the need for importation of queen bees which carries a risk of introducing new pests and diseases.
Honey bee queens mate openly with many drones from different colonies and it is therefore more challenging to selectively breed honey bees than other managed animals.
A healthy honey bee colony requires a high amount of genetic diversity within the colony and this information would be another output from genetic testing.
Concerned about the global decline of pollinators, the severe problems facing managed honey bees and the fact that the understanding of honey bee genetics lags far behind other livestock species, we aim to increase the available knowledge on honeybee genetics by working directly with the beekeepers and bee breeders themselves.