Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

30 April

A very important and generally useful creature without which my toast would be bereft of honey … BUT it is absolutely not a native bee species but another alien import now well naturalised after almost 400 years on this continent. I used to keep honey bees, hives at the bottom of the garden etc, when we lived in England but here we need to be careful because if there are too many in a given location they will compete with native (bumble etc) bees for the available pollen and nectar.

In North America, “European” honey bees represent a complex of several interbreeding European subspecies including; Apis mellifera ligustica Spinola, Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann, Apis mellifera mellifera Linnaeus, Apis mellifera causcasia Pollmann, and Apis mellifera iberiensis Engel. Introduction of these subspecies dates back to early American settlers in 1622.