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Irish black honeybee

Apis mellifera mellifera

The dark honey bee used to be found from Ireland in the west to Russia in the east. Ireland has some of the purest dark honey bees left in Europe. Irish bees are well adapted to living in a harsh climate. The breeding season is quite short to fit in with our normal Irish summers. To keep themselves warm, they are bigger and hairier than other European honey bees. They forage further even in dull and drizzly weather. Their body length is between 12 to 16 millimetres.

In August 2017, we welcomed the arrival of a colony of 2,000 Irish black honeybees and reside in our Buzz Stop which also opened in August. 

We are a business supporter of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, helping to improve pollinators and we play an active role in supporting native bee species.

Animal class


Conservation status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) has not yet assessed the Irish honey bee due to data deficiency.




There is insufficient data to assess the population trends of the honey bees. Local studies all suggest declines in Irish honey bee numbers.


Nectarivore Irish honey bees eat nectar and pollen.