Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey

Beekeeping At Buckfast Abbey
by, Brother Adam
                                          (1975 )

Brother Adam

Karl Kehrle OBE, known as Brother Adam, was a Benedictine monk, beekeeper, and an authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee.

Early in the twentieth century, one of the youngsters who came to Buckfast from Germany with a view to joining the community was assigned to assist Br. Columban. This was Br. Adam Kehrle. He began helping Br. Columban at the tender age of twelve, but he was des Karl Kehrle OBE, known as Brother Adam, was a Benedictine monk, beekeeper, and an authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee.

Early in the twentieth century, one of the youngsters who came to Buckfast from Germany with a view to joining the community was assigned to assist Br. Columban. This was Br. Adam Kehrle. He began helping Br. Columban at the tender age of twelve, but he was destined to continue working with the bees for over seventy eight years and to become an international authority in the field.

Soon after Br. Adam joined Brother Columban, thirty out of the Abbey's forty-six colonies were wiped out by a disease known as Acarine. All of the bees that died were of the native British black bee variety. This bee was renowned for being hardy, but somewhat ill-tempered. The bees that survived the outbreak were all of Italian origin.

In 1919, after Brother Columban retired, Brother Adam was put in charge of the bees, and he set about rebuilding the colonies. His intention was to use cross-breeding to develop a new bee which would be hardy like the black bee, but disease-resistant like the Italian bee, and a good honey producer.

Brother Adam made extensive journeys all over the world to get breeding stock. He concentrated on countries with a distinct indigenous race of bees, going chiefly to isolated country regions where the purity of the native strains had been maintained. He even went to the Sahara. Over the years, he travelled more than 100,000 miles in search of bees.

 

Brother Adam

Karl Kehrle OBE, known as Brother Adam, was a Benedictine monk, beekeeper, and an authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee.

Early in the twentieth century, one of the youngsters who came to Buckfast from Germany with a view to joining the community was assigned to assist Br. Columban. This was Br. Adam Kehrle. He began helping Br. Columban at the tender age of twelve, but he was des Karl Kehrle OBE, known as Brother Adam, was a Benedictine monk, beekeeper, and an authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee.

Early in the twentieth century, one of the youngsters who came to Buckfast from Germany with a view to joining the community was assigned to assist Br. Columban. This was Br. Adam Kehrle. He began helping Br. Columban at the tender age of twelve, but he was destined to continue working with the bees for over seventy eight years and to become an international authority in the field.

Soon after Br. Adam joined Brother Columban, thirty out of the Abbey's forty-six colonies were wiped out by a disease known as Acarine. All of the bees that died were of the native British black bee variety. This bee was renowned for being hardy, but somewhat ill-tempered. The bees that survived the outbreak were all of Italian origin.

In 1919, after Brother Columban retired, Brother Adam was put in charge of the bees, and he set about rebuilding the colonies. His intention was to use cross-breeding to develop a new bee which would be hardy like the black bee, but disease-resistant like the Italian bee, and a good honey producer.

Brother Adam made extensive journeys all over the world to get breeding stock. He concentrated on countries with a distinct indigenous race of bees, going chiefly to isolated country regions where the purity of the native strains had been maintained. He even went to the Sahara. Over the years, he travelled more than 100,000 miles in search of bees.