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National Register of Italian Honey Bee Breeders



The National Register of Honey Bee Breeders was established in 1997 by the National Beekeeping Institute, now part of CREA – AA. The latest activity protocol was published on 30th January 2013. The Registry is the institutional instrument for the valorization and safeguarding of the autocthonous Italian honey bee subspecies: Apis mellifera ligustica and Apis mellifera siciliana. The Register aims to provide support to the enrolled breeders so that they can breed bees which can be commercially competitive on a national and international level from the biological, genetic and sanitary point of view, while at the same time conserving the rich genetic heritage of Italian honey bees.

The Register has two sections corresponding to the races of autocthonous Italian honey bees:

- section Apis mellifera ligustica
- section Apis mellifera siciliana


Activity protocol (in Italian)

Notice: the pdf document refers to the previous name of the institute: “CRA-API”, which from 2017 merged with other institutes to become part of the CREA – Agriculture and Environment Research Centre.

Thre different bodies are in charge of implementing the Register’s functioning, at different levels: the Technical Central Commission, the Central Office and the Body of Experts.

What it offers

Enrollement in the Register, which includes committing to operate according to its aims – represent a guarantee for both the breeder and the final user.

Enrollemnt in the Register entails:

  • periodic morphometric analyses of the breeding population, to guarantee respect of the race standards;

  • performance testing programme of the selection population based on objective criteria, to guarantee progressive improvement of the considered traits;

  • meetings and seminars for training and updates;

  • dissemination of activities connected to the Register;

  • use of the Register logo.

How to enroll

Conditions necessary to be admitted to Register

Honey bee breeders with the following legal, sanitary and technical characteristics can be admitted to the Register:

  • VAT number;

  • At least 100 colonies officially almeno 100 alveari registrati presso ASL;

  • At least 3 years of breeding experience, with documented proof of sale or internal use of queen bees and / or artificial swarms and / or bee packages containing internally produced queen bees;

  • Honey bee colonies belonging to the race standards of the Italian subspecies.

How to request enrollement

1) download and fill in the forms (in Italian):

2) send to the Register’s secretariat:

3) following examination of the report concerning legal requisites, a site inspection may be effected to check that the technical characteristics of the operation can guarantee a qualified production:

  • Admission to the Register is decided by the the Central Technical Commission

Genetic evaluation data base

Consult the database:

The database contains the Breeding Values of queens that were part of the performance testing program managed by the Register.

Origin of the data
Selected breeder queens are used to produce groups of sister queens, of which one third is tested by the breeder and the remaining, anonymously, by beekeepers in Testing Centres. Queens are tested for main apicultural traits according to international standards (Buechler et al., 2013)

Data analyses
Data resulting from perfermance testing is analysed with the BLUP Animal Model modified to take into account the biological characteristics of a honey bee colony by Bienefeld et al. (2007). For each queen a Breeding Value is given for every trait, however, a combined Breeding Value can be calculated, assigning varying weight to the traits.

How to interpret and use the Breeding Values
The Breeding Values express the part of an individual’s value that is due to genetic – and thereby transmittable - effects. In other words they estimate the the probability that the daughters will be metter or worse respect to the population average.

In the Data Base the Breeding Values are reported relatively to the population average of the previous 5 years. A value higher than 100 indicates that for that trait, the queen is likely to porduce daughters that are better than the population average.

How to use the Data Base
When consulting the Data Base you can choose among 3 options:

Choice of queens based on breeder or on Breeding Value
With this option it is possible to search for a queen based on a specific parameter: for example in this way on can visualize all the queens belonging to a certain section or breeder, or born in a specific year, or all these options together.
Furthermore, the queens can be visualised based on the tested traits: a Breeding Value level can be inserted, and only queens with that level or higher will be listed. Criteria can be inserted for seberal traits and parameters.

Pedigree and Breeding Values for a specific queen
By selecting this option it is possible to visualise the whole pedigree of the queen.

Breeding values and inbreeding coefficients of potential offspring
This option can be used to plan the mating. It is possible to calculate the potential Breeding Values of the progeny resulting from the mating of a chosen queen and drone-mother, and the related inbreeding coefficient (only for controlled mating).


Promemoria adempimenti allevatori iscritti

Protocollo programma di selezione allevatori iscritti

Scheda di valutazione

Legenda punteggi 4

Scheda pin test

Scheda spedizione allevatori

Modulo richiesta analisi

Promemoria adempimenti valutatori

Protocollo Centro di Valutazione


Cecilia Costa

+39 051 353103 Ext. 02

Patrizia Bergomi (Secretariat)

+39 051 353103 Ext. 05 - Mon-Fri 10:00-16:00