The Maltese honey bee, Apis mellifera ruttneri, is a sub-species of the Western honey bee. It originates from Malta where it is native. It has naturalized and adapted to the environment of the Maltese Islands. It evolved as a different sub-species when the Maltese islands were cut off from mainland Europe. The bee is of relatively black colour. It is well adapted for high temperatures and dry summers and cool winters. Colonies have brood all year round and with good response to the seasons on the islands. They clean the hive well. They tend to swarm or supersede the queen when there are enough stores (generally swarms in Spring and supersedes in Autumn). A very defensive sub-species against wasps, mice and beetles. Colonies also have some resistance to Varroa.