Buckfast bees. Photo: Frank Mickley, Mike Phobos (Author). License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
The Buckfast bee is a bred of the western honey bee ( Apis mellifera ). It is the result of numerous breeding advances made by Karl Kehrle, a beekeeper, at Buckfast Abbey in England from 1916 and later by the international community of Buckfast breeders. Today, the Buckfast bee is distributed all over the world.
In 1913, the European dusky bee ( Apis mellifera mellifera ), native to the British Isles, was endangered by a bee die-off. The tracheal mite was officially identified as the cause. Recent findings consider a virus caused by this mite - as a vector (dt. 'disease carrier') - to be probable.
Kehrle then began resistance breeding with surviving bee colonies. To do this, he crossed queens of the Italian bee ( A. m. ligustica ) with drones of the black bee. He later began the systematic mating of other honey bee subspecies [ to obtain artificial hybrids that were said to be more resilient, more productive, and more peaceful.
The breeding result of Karl Kehrle was a "hereditary", peaceful, sluggish bee, which brought above-average yields when using modern management with the square Dadant magazine hive.