B4 – Achievements and Aspirations


Building on 30+ years of work done by Roger Dewhurst (CBIBBG) and Jo Widdicombe (BIPCo).

B4Project CIC (Community Interest Company)

Nick Bentham Green (BIPCo) East Cornwall –estb 2009,

James Kilty, Bob Black, Maggie Freegard (CBIBBIG) West Cornwall,

Andrew Brown (B4 Secretary).


So far B4 achievements:-

  1. September 2012 Dr Steve Marsh and Professor David Brown FRS at University College London donate equipment and consumables to B4 CIC with the purpose of equipping a laboratory. The laboratory will help in identifying the remnants of Apis mellifera mellifera in the Cornish Peninsular, correlating findings with DNA evidence and using artificial insemination to conserve this regional example of the subspecies.
  2. Initial genetic report Theodore Allnutt (Fera) 2013
    1. “The overall picture is what we would have expected – most of the B4 bees have a similar genetic background to our A. m. m. reference collection (from Northumbria and Colonsay) BUT they are also distinct from those bees, arguably as distinct as the other sub-species are from each other. However, the important thing for you I suppose is that they mostly show very little overlap with the other imported sub-species: Carnica, Ligustica, Balkan (3 different ‘Greek’ bee types), Iberica, and the French ones”.
  3. Tim Smit – Patron of B4.
  4. Paignton Zoo 11/05/13 Black Bees installed at Paignton Zoo.
  5. Spotlight visit Zoo 05/06/13 and film Black Bees.
  6. BIPco 3rd Annual Bee Improvement Day at Dobwalls Memorial Hall 25/01/14 presentaton Catherine Eleanor Thompson.
  7. The health and status of the feral honeybee (Apis mellifera sp) and Apis mellifera mellifera population of the UK,  thesis  Catherine Eleanor Thompson http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/5211/1/CorrectedThesis3.pdf
  8. Sheryll Murray MP offered support following visit to Newton Farm 21/06/2013.
  9. Julie Girling MEP visit to Newton Farm and advice on European Funding – 12/07/2013.
  10. Heritage Lottery Grant £9600  January 2014
  11. Lord Robin Teverson audience and support, hosted by Eden – 21/02/2014.
  12. George Eustice MP Defra Junior Minister hosted at Paradise Park, Hayle – 28/06/2014.
  13. Second round of genetic investigation 2014
    1.  44 sites across Cornwall and 4 across British Isles
    2. Working with Fera.
  14. Public education interfaces at Eden, Heligan, Paradise Park, and Paignton Zoo (facilitated by Heritage Lottery Fund).
    1. ‘The indigenous and threatened British Black Bee’.
  15. Cooperation of Duchy and MOD. (Isolated mating sites).
    1. MOD – Tregantle Fort
    2. Duchy – Lostwithiel
  16. IBRA (International Bee Research Association).
    1. Delegate co-opted as associate member B4.
    2. We wish to collaborate with European research institutions working in the field of conserving residual unique populations of Amm and Dr Norman Carrick has a great deal of experience of working in an inclusive, open and cooperative manner in the international field.
  17. Opened dialogue with Plymouth University, Dr Mairi Knight (geneticist).
    1. Associate Professor Dr Mairi Knight is interested in evolutionary and ecological processes that give rise to and maintain extant biodiversity.
    2. Rame Head and its local population of Amm lie within the curtilage of Plymouth City.
  18. Opened dialogue Dr Norman Carrick (University Sussex and IBRA). Dr Carrick latest research shows, that the locally adapted strains of honey bee consistently performed better than the “foreign” strains.”
  19. Prince Charles visits the Duchy Nursery at Lostwithiel 14/07/2014 and is introduced to Rodger Dewhurst, Nick Bentham-Green and Andrew Brown, the B4Project is discussed.
  20. Black bees certified and installed by Bob Black at Godolphin House. Small grant given for joint Display with National Trust
  21. BIPCo/B4 visit to Pembrokeshire/Robert Jones 19-20/07/14. Robert has 30+ years’ experience of conserving Pembrokeshire Black Bees and his work has much in common with our Cornish project.
  22. Meeting to brief Sarah Newton MP about the B4Project at the Eden Project on the 30th January 2015 at  3pm for 1½  Hours. She will see the  bee-friendly exhibition which includes the “Honeyscribe and Melissographia” artwork by Amy Shelton.
  23. February 7th 2015 Annual Bee Improvement Day to be held at Dobwalls Memorial Hall near Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 6LS 9.00am for 9.30-4.00pm. Guest Speaker: Harry Owens from The Isle of Man plus local speakers.
  24. February 2015 Fera were unfortunately, despite multiple attempts, not able to extract sufficient genetic material from the wing clippings provided to provide a robust analysis.
  25. B4 is approached by Plymouth University and the birth of Plymouth University Beekeeping Association is facilitated by Dr Lea Bayly. An 8 session practical course is provided by B4 for University Staff  and good examples of Apis mellifera mellifera are procured. Gerry Stuart from Paignton Zoo helped with the apiary provision with his designs and health and safety input.
  26. Plymouth University partnered by B4 and Professor Walter Shepperd WSU submit application for NERC funding of PhD student.
  27. HLF agreed that samples could be sent to Gabrielle Solande from Apigenix a Swiss laboratory specialising in genetic work on Apis mellifera mellifera.
  28. 22nd September 2015 first set of B4 results and report received from Apigenix.
  29. Associate Professor Mairi Knight agrees to scrutinise our work and publish it if suitable.
  30. Friday 30th of October 2015 meeting to discuss the “Mount Edgcumbe Cornish Black Bee Haven”. George Trubody CCC, David Marshal from Mount Edgcumbe  met representatives of B4 to discuss the creation of a bee haven in the Summer of 2016. Sheryll Murray MP offered her support.
  31. January 2015 second set of results received from Apigenix.
  32.  February 5th 2016 Annual Bee Improvement Day held at Dobwalls Memorial Hall near Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 6LS 9.00am for 9.30-4.00pm. Guest Speaker: Willie Robson of Chain Bridge Honey Farm, Berwick-Upon –Tweed.
  33.  HLF allow us to use remaining £290.50 to seed the apiary at the Mount Edgcumbe House and Park Black Bee Haven (Rame Peninsula).
  34.  29th February 2016 Heritage Lottery part of the project completed.
  35. Positive funding outcome from 2016 NERC Industrial CASE Studentship Competition. B4 to partner Plymouth University. PhD student to start September 2017.
  36. Tesco Bags of Help:- B4Project CIC; Project Title – Country Park Black Bee Haven. Store voting start started on Monday 31 October until Sunday 13 November 2016.
  37. Friday 13th January 2017 Rupert Mcallum Plymouth University MSc student agrees to do collaborative dissertation with B4.
  38. Wednesday 18th January 2017 Plymouth University Safekeeping Bees Arts Symposium B4 represented
  39. Friday 20 January at 16.00pm Mount Edgcumbe meeting with the Rangers and Staff to implement Black Bee Reserve. Dr Mairi Knight will present. Photo with Tesco grant representative.
  40. Saturday 18th February BIPCo 6th Annual Bee Improvement Day, Lanhydrock Memorial Hall, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 5AE. http://www.b4project.co.uk/events-2/
  41. Spring 2017 Tesco’s Groundworks fund (£10000) for a Black Bee Reserve at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. Compulsory code of conduct for resident beekeepers agreed for the Park.
  42. Kurt Jacksons exhibition, “Bees (And the Odd Wasp) in My Bonnet”  opens on the 24th March St Just.  B4/Friends of The Earth. http://www.jacksonfoundationgallery.com/index/bees/
  43. Thursday 25th of May 1pm The Orangery Mount Edgcumbe for the opening of the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park Bee Reserve. Sir Tim Smit KBE Patron, Associate Professor Mairi Knight Head of Biological Science Plymouth University, Lord Teverson. Michael Eavis CBE becomes our second patron.
  44. NERC Industrial CASE PhD student to start September 2017. B4 to partner Plymouth University with Washington State University as minor partner. 4 Years.
  45.    http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/plymouth-researchers-helping-safeguard-precious-bees/story-30082664-detail/story.html
  46. https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/pr-opinion/opinion-how-do-we-protect-our-native-bee-species
  47. Tesco Bags of Help Grant /Marley Farm Apiary South Brent. Create a home for our native honey bees on the site of an historic apiary, established during the 1920s by Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey. £4000
  48. Tesco Bags of Help Grant/Rosewarne Teaching Apiary.Create a teaching apiary devoted to our native Cornish Honey Bees at the Duchy College Rosewarne. £2000.
  49. Tesco Bags of Help Grant/Mount Edgcumbe Country Park Black Bee Reserve. Enhance Englands first Black Honey Bee Reserve. £4000.
  50. Tesco Bags of Help Grant/Shebbear Black Bee Conservation Project. Equipment for teaching, : bee suits, variety of hives, stock and specialised bee breeding equipment. £1000.
  51. Tesco Bags of Help Grant. The West Devon Bee Improvement Group (WDBIG) grant to identify, conserve and promote locally-adapted honey bees in the area. £1000.
  52. The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation/Genetic survey of the Cornish Black Bee Population in Cornwall. £3000.
  53. Eden Project Cornwall 17th February 2018 Conference Sustainable Beekeeping,  “A Future without Imports.”  http://www.b4project.co.uk/events-2/
  54. Patagonia Grants Council fund our The B4 Project with $6 000 and invited us to the second European Tools for Grassroots Activists conference on May 30 – June 2nd 2018, in Una National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  55. HLF Securing protection and prosperity of the Native European Dark Bee in the British Our Ref: OH-17-04210 successful.
  56. May 2018 Plymouth University starts genetic testing of the population of black honey bees.
  57. July 12-15 2018 SICAMM Conference, Mustialan, Finland. Norman Carrek (Sussex) and Dr Jon Ellis (Plymouth University) represent B4.
  58. September 2018 Heligan declare as Black Bee Reserve
  59. 2018 will Eden declare themselves Black Bee Reserve.
  60. PU to put on academic workshop PM Friday 15th February 2019
  61. Eden conference  Saturday 16th Feb 2019 (AM academics, PM short presentations from “groups” in South West.
  62. Sunday 17th Feb 2019 BIBBA BIFA bee breeding day.
  63. February 2019 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th open days at groups /apiariy visits.
  64. Heligan declare themselves Reserve Spring 2019
  65. PU/B4/Eden/Kurt Jackson Exhibition Eden end April May June the Core Eden 2nd floor
  66. Godolphin declare themselves Haven  Autumn 2019
  67. HLF Securing protection and prosperity of the Native European Dark Bee in the British Our Ref: OH-17-04210 successful £35,000.
  68. PU to put on academic workshop PM Friday 15th February 2019
  69. Eden 2nd Conference for Sustainable Beekeeping, a Future Without Imports. Saturday 16th Feb 2019 (AM academics, PM short presentations from “groups” in South West
  70. Sunday 17th Feb 2019 BIBBA bee breeding day Mount Edgcumbe.
  71. Feb 2019 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd  24th  open days at groups /apiaries across the South West.
  72. Eden B4 Exhibition Friday 19th April 2019 to Thursday 20th June PU/B4/Eden/Kurt Jackson.
  73. Godolphin National Trust declare themselves Black Bee Haven Autumn 2019
  74. Eden declare themselves Black Bee Reserve September 2019