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"Colour of Bees in a Colony"

I think colour is very important - and here's why.

I have heard it said by speakers on queen rearing and bee breeding that the colour of bees in a colony isn't important, but I disagree. To my way of thinking you won't get consistent bees if the colours vary, because it shows mixed parentage. I believe this is one reason why many of the colonies in the U.K. are so inconsistant in behaviour and performance.

I have to admit to liking dark bees of the native type, as they suit the kind of management system I have developed. For that reason I have described below what I do. In general I find yellow bees are more prolific and I struggle to keep them in single brood box national hives. If you like yellow bees, I haven't a problem with that, but what I say you will have to substitute yellow for black.

The reasons I think colour is important is because I use it as an indicator on how my selection is going. 10-15 years ago the bees in my area of West Sussex were what I called "British Standard Mongrels". As well as having variable temperament, they were variable colour as well. Many colonies had virtually all yellow worker bees, some less, but most had well over 50%. The degree of yellow on individual bees varied considerably, showing a high level of mongrelisation. Many of the drones were yellowish.

My thinking is:-

Roger Patterson.