Brother Adam 1985 – Breeding the Honeybee – Preface

Brother Adam 1985 – Breeding the Honeybee – Preface of this book

Breeding the Honeybee

A Contribution to the Science of Beebreeding
By Brother ADAM

Autographe du Frère Adam
Brother Adam's autograph


Dedicated to
Prof. Dr. Ludwig ARMBRUSTER
(7.9.1886 – 4.6.1978)
in grateful remembrance
Mytholmroyd : Hebden Bridge
( Out of print edition )

This first English edition published by Northern Bee Books,
Scout Bottom Farm, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
March 1987.
Printed by Dotesios Printers, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.
The translation of this volume was personally supervised
by Brother Adam from the original German.
„Züchtung der Honigbiene“ was first published in 1982.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Brother Adam,

Breeding the honeybee: a contribution
to the science of bee-breeding.
1.  Bee culture-Europe
I.  Title II.  Züchtung der Honigbiene.

638′.1 SF531.E9
ISBN 0–907908–32–2


In the course of the years I have often been asked to record in writing my findings and views on breeding the honeybee.  The requests were based on the fact that there is very little information available on this subject in our literature.  A great deal has been written on the different ways of raising queens but almost next to nothing on breeding the honeybee on a genetic basis, apart from the publications of Prof. Dr. L. ARMBRUSTER.  However, these appeared in German and were never translated.  In fact his writings fell on stony ground in his own country, for the simple reason that he was too far ahead of his time.

My own findings cover a period close on seventy years of unremitting effort.  They also embrace a first-hand knowledge of virtually all the races of the honeybee.  This is an essential prerequisite to any serious attempt at an improvement of the honeybee on a genetic basis.

In 1910, F.W. SLADEN of Ripple Court, Dover published a report in the British Bee Journal on an attempt he carried out in raising a new combination from a cross between the Old English native bee and a golden Italian strain developed in North America.  These efforts of his were based on ARMBRUSTER’s discoveries.  SLADEN was therefore the first person to attempt a task of this kind, for ARMBRUSTER’s findings were rediscovered less than ten years previously.  About the same time S. SIMMINS of Heathfield, Sussex endeavoured to produce a cross of outstanding economic value.  He conclusively demonstrated the potentialities open to beekeeping in this direction.  Indeed the results he secured had a far reaching bearing on my own efforts.

Professor Dr L ARMBRUSTER’s „Bienenzüchtungskunde“ [German for „The Science of Beebreeding, an Art“] appeared in 1919.  By a fortunate chance I obtained a copy in 1920.  This book revealed to me a world of new possibilities.  However, at that time nobody had an inkling of multiple matings so many of ARMBRUSTER’s conclusions were based on false premises.  On the other hand, his interpretations of mendelian heredity in the light of parthenogenesis still hold good.  Also his graphic illustrations and diagrams, explaining discoveries and conclusions, are superb.  I am therefore including a number of them in this book.

Prof. Dr. Ludwig ARMBRUSTER extended to me every possible help at all times.  In recognition I am dedicating this book to his memory.

Apart from ARMBRUSTER I also owe a great debt of gratitude to a number of people who supported my efforts at one time or another, whose names I cannot enumerate here.  I am likewise deeply grateful to those who actively assisted in the preparation and publication of this book — foremost, of course to the Right Rev. Abbot Leo SMITH who undertook the translation from the German.

As the subtitle indicates, this book is merely a contribution to the science of breeding the honeybee on a genetic basis.  However, I trust it will in some small measure fill a deficiency in our apicultural literature and also throw some light on the potentialities awaiting us.  Nowadays ‚genetic engineering‘ is receiving much attention.  Cross breeding — the most practical form of genetic engineering — is clearly the only way open to us by which we can realise the potentialities the honeybee can offer.

Spring 1985
Br. Adam