Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?

The dream of any beekeeper is peaceful, hardy, productive, disease-resistant, unpretentious honey plants. These are the qualities that buckfast bees are famous for. They are gradually conquering apiaries all over the world.


The monastic apiaries of Buckfast Abbey in England in 1915 were in disaster. The tracheal mite mowed down almost all bee colonies. Young brother Adam just arrived at that time to work in the apiary.

To restore the economy, they bought Italian honey plants. Only these hybrids survived the next winter. The novice beekeeper took these families as a basis for improving breeding. The aim of the work was to breed a bee resistant to tracheal mites. The result was achieved only by 1927. The new breed was named the same as this abbey – “Buckfast”.

Brother Adam was carried away by breeding experiments to improve the species. He set out to increase the number of beneficial properties. Now work was going on to strengthen the breed and increase the profitability of the farm. He had his own approach:

  • you need to look for bees with the required quality abroad;
  • take only “aborigines” for crossing, and then fix the result by selection methods.

In search of the right samples, Brother Adam traveled to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 1960, as a result of crossing the baseline with the Greek, the species acquired new qualities:

  • complete absence of aggression;
  • impatience.


After 70, “Buckfast” was crossed with Turkish, Egyptian, Macedonian “natives”. After 70 years of selection, hard work, we got one of the best, expensive breeds in the world.


Buckfast bees have no clear external distinguishing features. Within the species, a lot of lines have been bred, the individuals of which differ from each other. The color ranges from brown to gray (“Elgon”). The legs are black, the wings are creamy. The long, narrow body is covered with an edge. The proboscis is medium in size – from 6,5 to 6,8 mm. Buckfast worker bees weigh 115 mg. The mass of the infertile uterus is 190, the fetal mass is 210.

Features of the uterus

Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?

The queen is prized for her fertility. It is capable of sowing up to 2 thousand cells per day. By the time of the main bribe, a large family is growing. Up to 30 frames are tightly hatched. The brood is there until autumn. May be in September under favorable conditions.

The uterus has a long lifespan. Beekeepers note the presence of females that are already 5 years old or more. They give dense sowing in a square. They work no worse than young individuals.

Family behavior

Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?

“Buckfast” during honey collection always surprises with its productivity and endurance. Families are growing very quickly. The period of active growth depends on the line. There are hybrids for the autumn harvest, there are for the early spring collection.

Bees fill only the top with honey. They leave the lower body to the “queen” for sowing.


The main work of the beekeeper is to monitor the filling of the frames, put new ones on time, and expand the house with additional buildings.

The insects are very neat. The bottom of the hive is always clean.

Advantages and disadvantages

Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?

The species has many valuable traits:

  1. Peacefulness. Bees allow you to inspect the hive and do not show dissatisfaction. Most beekeepers say that inspections are carried out without protective equipment even in the evening.
  2. Not prone to swarming. This is a pretty valuable quality. It reduces the labor costs of the beekeeper, allows less frequent examination of families. For honey collection, this is also a big plus.
  3. Fertile uterus. She always lays eggs. With a large bribe, the bees limit it, the family sags a little. But this is not for long.
  4. Another “plus” of the “Buckfast” bees is the brood hatching on the 19-20th day, and not on the 21st.
  5. In the presence of a good honey plant, insects can work even in bad weather conditions. Weak or extended bribes are used effectively. The nomadism increases productivity many times over. However, even if the apiary is located at a stationary point, no one will be left without honey.
  6. “Buckfast” tolerates humid climate and dampness better than others.
  7. Honey plants are not susceptible to varroatosis. Show resistance to American and European foulbrood and are immune to ticks.
  8. The “pluses” include the neatness and cleanliness of insects.

The disadvantage of Buckfast bees is the rapid degeneration of the lines. There is no persistence of the preservation of the breed characteristics. This may depend on the female. The second – third generation is already changing color, aggressiveness appears. Queens need to be purchased periodically if they are not of the highest quality.

Among the disadvantages of the species are often called cold intolerance. However, there is also the opposite opinion. Bees feel great in Omshanik. Beekeepers have already managed to make sure in practice that wintering on the street does not frighten them.

Differences of the breed

Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?

With all the variety of lines drawn, there are undoubtedly characteristic common features of the species for any Buckfast hybrid.

  1. During the year, bees are constantly rearing brood.
  2. Honey plants are not prone to swarming. Breeding is not practiced, nor is brood selection.
  3. The strength of the swarm increases to the maximum.
  4. High productivity and endurance.
  5. Resistant to typical diseases and parasites.


Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?

A lot of species have been bred. We can probably say that any of the breeders breeds their own “Buckfast”. There are no uniform external criteria. The main thing is that the characteristic breed properties are present.

It is very difficult to remove the breed uterus. Out of 2 thousand females, only 30 will be selected as breeding females. Acquiring cheap producers for breeding in two or three seasons, bees lose their breed properties.


When breeding this species, you should pay attention to the drones. If the purpose of the work is to preserve the desired properties, then males of local populations cannot be used for this.

Costs are also worth considering. These honey plants are expensive – from 20 euros for a working insect to 2 thousand for a thoroughbred “queen”.

The combination of positive signs makes it possible to do a large honey harvest. After approbation, industrial apiaries switch to this breed, which is easy to care for and maintain.


Description of the Buckfast bee breed, why are they in demand among beekeepers?
You can bookmark this page

Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

View all posts by Anna Evans →
Copy link