Bees - Lithuanian Local

   In European countries indigenous bees (Apis mellifera mellifera L) are called the Dark European Honeybee, and in the East they are called the Middle Russia Bee. The Lithuanian population of the Dark European Honeybee (further Native bees) used to live in the woods in tree hollows. In the course of time they have become adapted to our honey flow and climate conditions.
   There are some populations in Poland, and Ireland genetically related to our bees. The largest populations are found in the North of Russia Udmurtia and Baskiria. Institute of Apiculture in Rybnaja, Riazan region and its department Krasnaja Poliana bee breeding station near Mineralnyje Vody are involved in the breeding and conservation of this race.
   The data of morphometric examination of Lithuanian Native bee (1969-1970) were as follows: proboscis length 6.07±0.2 mm; cubital index 59.2±1.3 %; index of discoid shift 55.6±0.4 %. The abdomen is dark, monochromatic, the body is overgrown with long rare hair. They practically have never been selected, are aggressive, almost wild. The wintering of the Dark Bee is excellent; although colony size is usually moderate, and the winter cluster is small. They tend to run out of the hive when smoke is used. Honey is stored in the honey chamber over the nest. Honey is closed by white cappings. The local population is very swarmy. They badly protect their nests but do not rob. In spring they become stronger faster than Caucasian (Apis mellifera caucasica), but more slowly than Carniolan (Apis mellifera Carnica) bees. They stop rearing the brood, discard drones in autumn earlier than other races. Hard-working - utilise even weak honey flow and work in dull and drizzly weather. Advantages: use small quantities of food during wintering, the food can include a large part of heather or honeydew honey, utilise first honey flow from forests in Spring. Disadvantages: they are swarmy and aggressive.
   The hybridisation danger arose in 1965-1970 when Caucasian and Carniolan bee races had been imported in Lithuania. In 1971 the Lithuanian Council of Ministers adopted a decision No. 287 "Developing of Bee Keeping in Lithuania". This decision has made the Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture responsible for organisation of Native bees rearing and breeding. With this aim a Reservation of Native Bees was established in the woods of Taurageand Jurbarkas districts. To prevent hybridisation, the bee queens were mated in the mating station set up in the Curonian Spit, and instrumental insemination was used.
   The main objectives in the breeding of Native bees are to reduce swarming and aggressiveness, to increase disease resistance, to create strains equal or better than the introduced ones.