Native Irish Beekeeping

January Jobs

  • Check the apiary periodically but especially after bad weather, to ensure no hives have lost their roofs or got knocked over. Check legs on hive stands
  • Fit insulation to keep the colony warm. Use an empty super to support the inner cover and roof. Rearrange hives in cold weather only. Treat timber of hives
  • Heft the hives to gauge the level of stores. If they are light, feed fondant on the top bars directly over the cluster on top of the crown boards.
  • Review last years records to plan for the coming year. Your local knowledge and commonsense will enable you to better get the timings right as these can change from area to area. Decide which colonies to re-queen and which to use for breeding.
  • Prepare and clean your stored equipment. Buy any additional new equipment you need. You can solve problems with spares. Take time to study
  • Attend association meetings: listen to speakers and discuss and swap ideas with other bee-keepers.

December Jobs in the Apiary

  • Check to see if any hives have lost their roofs or gotten knocked over.
  • Heft the hives to gauge the level of stores. If they are light, feed fondant on the top bars directly over the cluster on top of the crown boards.
  • Fit insulation to keep the colony warm. Use an empty super to support the inner cover and roof.
  • Review last years records to plan for the coming year.
  • Buy any additional equipment you need.
  • Discuss and swap ideas with other bee-keepers.
  • Re-read your bee books, or buy a new one for Christmas!

Mentor System and Swarm Removal

As part of our mentor system for beginners, we have divided Connemara along traditional divisions, South, North and West. Please contact the following to join our mentor system or ask any of the experienced keepers at our monthly meetings to point you in the right direction.

List of Mentors / locations

The Irish Black Bee was almost threatened with extinction back in the 1980s due to years of importations of hybrid bees. It remained only in a few pockets around the country. This bee is a strain of the European Dark Honeybee (Apis Mellifera Mellifera). 

It is the indigenous bee of Ireland and therefore perfectly adapted to the climates of the region. Through genetics it has been proven, Ireland has some of the purest strains of European Dark Bee in the world. It is very important to conserve this species of bee through a policy of non-importation of foreign bees which is adopted by FIBKA.  

Because it is adapted to the climates of Northern Europe, it is very frugal with its stores. During a cold wet period, it does not use up a whole lot of the honey it has collected. Whereas it has been proven that Italian and Buckfast bees use up huge amounts of honey in bad weather and need heavier sugar feeding in winter because of their large colonies.

Meanwhile research at NUIG is endeavouring to uncover how some honey bees in Ireland can tolerate and even resist Varroa mites. This information will be fed back into the breeding programme to help steer the selection process. The research and the breeding programme also aims to assist the native Irish honey bee’s feral and wild population by augmenting it with colonies bred from Varroa tolerant queens.

Apis Mellifera Mellifera are also known to be a much more docile strain of bee and for this reason much easier to work with than imports.

For more information about our Native Irish Bees:  CBC leaflet

Planting for Bees:

You'll find a list of plants and flowers that are suitable for bees and other pollinators here:

https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/perfect-for-pollinators

What is the Bee's foraging zone?

How far will your bees travel in their search?

Click on the following link.

https://www.2kmfromhome.com

First select the "Change Radius KM" and choose the distance required, then move the pointer to the location of your apiary on the map. Then you can zoom in and out to where your hives are.