With the purpose
• We will survey colonies of honey bees within the South West Peninsula, including possible feral colonies, to ascertain the distribution and quality of the Apis mellifera mellifera (AMM) population.
• We will sample DNA from the potential remnant population of Cornish, AMM and correlate genotype/DNA profiles of the bees with published wing morphometric analyses and DNA markers.
• We are using selective breeding and artificial insemination to build stocks of Cornish AMM.
• We want to involve a wide a population of beekeepers in Cornwall in the conservation of the Cornish AMM population.
• The improved breeding stock of Cornish AMM will provide a good starting point for research involving disease resistance. It is much easier to improve bee stock with a pure strain than a hybridized one. Disease resistance is known in the Cornish Dark Bee population particularly Varroa tolerance.
• We would like Paignton and Eden/Heligan to be the public educational interface (including public displays) for the six year project (fund application deadline April 2013).
• An overarching B4 IT/Web based system would co-ordinate material, research findings and make them freely available in an interactive way at Paignton/Eden/Heligan. We would like that to be independent, non-hierarchical, freely available and cooperative.
• Paignton /Heligan/Eden, would join in our bid for Lottery funding to finance its displays and costs. We can provide good specimens and a supply of bee hives, which we can easily modify for you, for your specialist applications.
The Way Forward
• Working from Cornwall
• Reduce the reliance on imported bees
• Greatly reduce the importation of bees at Governmental level
• Collaboration with Soil Association/Land Owners /Eden/Paignton/Heligan