Isle of Man Post Office releases stamps celebrating the life of honeybees


12 May 2024
The Isle of Man Post office has released a set of six stamps on 12th April, celebrating the life of honeybees in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA).

The Life of Bees Stamps

The Life of Bees stamps have been designed by beekeeper Benedict Glazier in cooperation with Isle of Man Bee Inspector Harry Owens BEM and EJC Design. Diane Drinkwater, Chair of the BBKA said “The BBKA is delighted by the celebration of our 150th anniversary through the collaboration between the Isle of Man Post Office and local beekeepers. Humans have been enthralled with bees for thousands of years and the beautiful stamps give a glimpse into the wonderful world of beekeeping. We wish the collection every success and all beekeepers on the Isle of Man, and the British Isles, a terrific beekeeping season.” 

Above: One of the six stamps, shows the worker bee 

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Where can I buy The Life of Bees stamp collection?

The collection, which narrates the story of the inhabitants of a beehive includes stamps featuring worker bee, drone bee and queen bee as well as their work, produce and beekeepers. The stamps are valued at 85p, £1.28, 2 x £1.60, £2.31 and £3.21 and are available from The Isle of Man Post Office as a Set, Sheet Set, Presentation Pack First Day Cover and special 150th Anniversary Commemorative Self-Adhesive Sheet. 

Above: One of the stamps shows one of the products of bees, honey

Related Article: Marine Mosaics from Isle of Man

Who are the British Beekeepers Association? 

The British Beekeepers Association was founded in 1874 and is made up of 75 associations across the UK and Channel Islands. The BBKA represents over 25,000 hobbyist beekeepers and aims to raise standards in beekeeping as well as promoting the importance and understanding of honeybees.

Above: The queen bee is depicted on one of the six stamps released to celebrate the lifecycle of bees

Bees on the Isle of Man 

The Isle of Man’s bees are very close genetically to the native European dark bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) and are a valuable source of disease and pest free bees for the rest of the British Isles. This is because the island is free of the Varroa parasite, which has a devastating impact on bee populations for the rest of the world. 

Above: The drone bee is shown on one of the £1.28 stamps

The Isle of Man decided to ban the importation of any foreign bees, equipment or beekeeping products in 1987 with the Bee Disease Act (and subsequent updates). This has put the island in a unique position as honeybees live in an environment that is unaffected by diseases and pests present in both the UK and mainland Europe. 

Above: The last of the stamps shows a beekeeper

Three beekeeping associations on the Isle of Man combine to form the Isle of Man Beekeeping Federation, who take an active part in training and helping beekeepers in the art of keeping bees. 

What is the role of honeybees?

Bees are an important part of our ecosystem and agriculture. As well as being an integral part of food production through pollination, honeybees also provide us with both honey and wax. Throughout recorded human history, there is evidence of beekeeping in many cultures, and keeping bees is one of the few livestock industries that can be enjoyed by hobbyists with as little as a single hive. 

Above: Showing the bees important role in our ecosystem, one of the stamps depicts pollination