Бурзянская бортевая пчела
Bashkir honey is produced by a population of Burzyan honey bees unique to the Republic of Bashkortostan (Bashkiria) in the Ural Mountains, Russia. This specific type of bee is of the Russian honey bee species, a descendent of the European black bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), which has formed after millions of years of geographic isolation. Burzyan honey bees have valuable ecological and economical qualities: they are resistant to disease, severe cold, and long winters, and produce a high quantity of rich monofloral honey, usually from the linden tree.
Local people known as bashkort, meaning “bee head” or “bee head keeper,” have been involved in beekeeping since ancient times and, though the Ural Mountains was once the most significant honey production area in Russia, honey production is endangered due to a significant decrease in the number of bee colonies. The introduction of bees from southern parts of Russia is causing genetic degradation and the Burzyan wild bees are becoming more susceptible to disease. However in Bashkiria there are still places with few or no southern bees and here Bashkir honey is still produced. It is difficult to find pure Bashkir honey in markets as it is mainly sold during honey exhibitions and festivals, even winning a gold prize at the World Expo Paris in 1990.