Pitcairn Island Honey Bees

Pitcairn Island Honey Bees sheetletBy the early 1970s, Pitcairn's bee population had completely died out. Pollination, particularly of vegetable crops on the island, then by necessity, was being carried out by hand. Bees of an Italian yellow strain (Apis mellifera ligustica) were introduced in 1978 and again in 1992. The present population is descended from both of these groups of bees.

Pitcairn Island Honey Bees 20c

In May 1998, the UK Government aid agency, the Department for International Development, funded an apiculture programme for Pitcairn which included training for Pitcairn's bee keepers and a detailed analysis of the disease status of Pitcairn bees and honey. The aim is to enable Pitcairn to export honey products to New Zealand and beyond. The results were better than we could have hoped for. Pitcairn has one of the most disease free bee populations of anywhere in the world and the honey produced is of an exceptionally high quality.  Pitcairn Island Honey Bees $1.00The apicultural scientist conducting the project, also found that Pitcairn bees were a particularly placid variety and within a short time, was able to work with them wearing minimal protection.  It would therefore seem that the export of live Queen bees is another potential earner for the Pitcairn Islanders.

Pitcairn Island Honey Bees $1.80Pitcairn's bee keepers are now building up their hive numbers and preparing product for export. The number of hives on the island is now around 30, with potential for perhaps ten times that amount. We are hopeful that approval for the export of honey to New Zealand will be given by the time this issue is released.

The Pitcairn Islands' Honey Bees issue is Pitcairn's first self-adhesive stamp and the world's first self-adhesive hexagonal stamp.
Pitcairn Island Honey Bees $3.00The artist, Sue Williams, is married to the Governor of the Pitcairn Islands, Mr. Martin Williams CVO OBE and visited Pitcairn earlier this year. It is our hope that Mrs. Williams will produce Pitcairn's next definitive issue, due for release in 2000. This will have a botanical theme.

Pitcairn Island Honey Bees
Please Note: All prices are in New Zealand Dollars

20c, $1.00, $1.80, $3.00 Single Set $6.00
Sheetlet $1.00
First Day Cover $6.60

Technical Details

Sue Williams
Printer: Southern Colour Print, NZ
Process: Lithographic
Stamp Size: 35 x 35mm hexagonal
Sheetlet Size: 100 x 74mm
Format: panes of 25 stamps
Perforation Gauge: 9 per 2cm
Sheet Configuration: 20 stamps per sheet, 2 x panes of 10
Denominations: 20c, $1.00, $1.80 and $3.00 stamps
$1.00 miniature sheet
Paper: JAC Australia non-phosphor self-adhesive
Release dates:
20 August - China '99 miniature sheet
12 September - 4 stamp issue