Call to Action

Brendan Murray, the Secretary of FIBKA has recently  been contacted by one association who had a very experienced beekeeper and scientist draft a template letter to MEPs that everyone could use. Please feel free use to lobby your MEP's or write your own message, whichever suits you best:

On 30th September there is a decision to be taken by the Parliament that has very serious implications for bees and the environment. 

It concerns the use of chemicals in agriculture and their detrimental effect. We would strongly advocate that Approach 2 should not be adopted for a number of reasons;  It uses a flawed method of calculating a natural background colony size that does not protect bees. The test assumes a recovery period that does not exist with, for example, Neonicotinoids. It largely deals with honey bees, ignores solitary bees and only briefly considers bumblebees. 

We need to look after our environment by giving our green spaces and their important pollinators the protection that they require for the good of everyone on this planet.

Please reject Approach 2.

If you think this suits please use it. In any case, please contact our Midlands-North-West Constituency MEPs

Luke Ming Flanagan

[email protected]

Chris Mc Manus

[email protected]

Mairead Mc Guiness

[email protected]

Maria Walsh

[email protected]

How bees mend fences between farmers and elephants

For farmers living close to an evergreen forest, there is an effective elephant deterrent – a beehive fence! Beehive fences were first successfully trialled and implemented in Kenya by Lucy King of the Elephants and Bees Project, where it was found that the fences could exploit the African elephant’s natural fear of bees. Reas the story here:

Alert - American Foul Brood (AFB) Outbreak

Please check your bees for any sign of  AFB  which is a very contagious disease and it’s critical that it be eliminated quickly. When checking your bees, pay particular attention to any odd-looking brood. Keep an eye out for any individual cell cappings that have a hole or look sunken. The really bad thing about AFB is that the spores can remain viable for 50 years, and they’re remarkably resistant to heat and cold, so there’s no alternative but to kill all the bees and burn the frames. It is suggested that you can reuse the boxes after charring with a blow torch, but to be safe, it’s probably best to burn everything.

If you have any suspicions at all, send a 6-inch square piece of brood comb containing the suspected infected brood (use this form) to:

Honey bee Health Surveillance Programme

c/o Dr Mary F Coffey

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Plant Health Laboratories,

Backweston Laboratory Campus,

Co. Kildare

W23 X3PH,


For further information on AFB, see 

Coronavirus - Covid-19

  1. How the New regulations affect us as Beekeepers: -

    Please note that farming activities were named as exempt from a series of tighter Government restrictions to be implemented in order to protect the nation’s citizens from the highly-infectious virus. Speaking at a press briefing in Government Buildings 27/03/20, the Taoiseach delivered stark details on the latest ramped up measures to be implemented:

    “With effect from midnight tonight, for a two-week period until Easter Sunday, April 12, everybody must stay at home in all circumstances, except for the following situations…[including] for farming purposes; that is food production and the care of animals,” he said.

    Should you have need to travel to an out apiary over the coming weeks please ensure you have appropriate identification in the event you need to clarify your activities to the Gardaí. All beekeepers are encouraged to keep a lookout for your fellow beekeepers who may be living on their own or in isolation. Be sure to keep in contact with one another during these troubled times. Yours sincerely, FIBKA Executive.

  2. FIBKA keeping in touch with its members. -While we are currently unable to come together as associations or meet up with individual beekeeping friends and colleagues, the FIBKA beekeeping Forum is a great way for us as beekeepers to keep  up contact and support each other through these difficult times. The FIBKA Forum tab on the FIBKA website home page is open 24/7. Any beekeeper who may have a question in relation to beekeeping matters can post it on the Forum page with a view to getting a response from another beekeeper. Once they log into the members area of the FIBKA site, the link to the Forum area is on the top. You may also be interested in browsing the current and back issues of An Beachaire which can be accessed from the web site, and also back issues of the BBKA News are available too. Perhaps some beekeepers would be willing to share their experiences or, indeed, anything of interest to beekeepers, for publication in An Beachaire.

  3. DAFM honey bee health surveillance programme - there will be some changes to the current honeybee disease diagnostic service that was funded by DAFM with analysis carried out by Dr Coffey in Teagasc. The disease diagnostic service will still continue but samples will now need to be submitted using a new form and directly to Dr Coffey in the Plant Health Laboratory at Backweston. The new service will now also be named the DAFM honey bee health surveillance programme. The new service will be available on the website at the link below along with sampling guidelines:

Any queries regarding the analysis can be directed to [email protected] 

  • APIMONDIA Toxicity Records and Survey: .

    This is a reminder for the WORLDWIDE REGISTRY OF HONEY BEE TOXICITY EVENTS, run by APIMONDIA Working Group ‘Adverse Effects of Agrochemicals and Bee medicines on bees’, and APIMONDIA Bee Health Commission, to FIBKA members and friends, and ask them to declare any toxicity events. You can find info in our webpage he link to the survey is here:


    or directly from APIMONDIA's web page: (soon you will find all versions there) In the APIMONDIA's web page you can also find the first results of the survey- Summary of the first results of the International online survey on honey bee toxicity events [2014 - 2016]

    A Digital kit with articles on pesticides “Recognized effects of Agrochemicals" and a link to Apiservices database on "Pesticides & Bees" scientific articles. Thank you for helping APIMONDIA to collect this important information and to be able to have a complete knowledge of the problem and the areas occurred.

  • FIBKA will review the exam dates for the preliminary beginners exam and will update all members via secretaries and our website.  The intermediate and senior provincial exam due to be held on 4th April next will be postponed to a future date.  All applicants may sit the next available exam and there will be no need to reapply.  Those who wish to have a refund please contact FIBKA through their own association secretary. 
  • During this crisis please do what you can and look out for your fellow members as some may not have enough support if they have to isolate themselves for 14 days.
  • The public are being asked to follow this advice and keep informed of this ongoing outbreak. Details of these measures can be found at the followning sites:

MEETING - Sun 12th Jan. 2020

Sunday 12th January is the date of our next Meeting. Starting at 2.00pm in the Boat Inn, Oughterard. Our Treasurer will be at hand to accept membership subscriptions. All members, new and old welcome. Light refreshments will be available. A movie will be shown called 'Keeping Bees' and a discussion with Q&A follows. Please make the effort to attend, and let it be your New Year's Resolution to be more active in promoting your Association!

Blowin' in the wind!

Felim Burke and Tony Murphy attended the Galway Wind Park Local Fund presentation event on Monday 30/9/19 last, at the Boat Inn in Oughterard to accept €2,500 cheque on behalf of Cumann Beachairí Chonamara.

Cumann Beachairí Chonamara  will be putting the funding towards erecting public signage at various locations throughout Connemara, as well as developing its apiaries.

2019 Nucs for Sale

We are pleased to announce that we now have some 2019 season Nucs available for sale from the Association apiaries.

* The cost of each Nuc is:

€180 - for Beginner members

€200 - for existing members

€250 - for non-members

(Please note that this is for the bees only. The Nuc will be supplied in a box which remains the property of the Association and should be returned along with replacement frames as soon as you have transferred the bees into your own hive.)

Please contact our Secretary, Ken Figgis for any enquiries. [email protected]

Bee Improvement Workshop in Sean Osborne's

We had a bee improvement workshop in Sean Osborne's apiary in Carrowmoreknock on Sunday 7th July at 2pm. We would like to thank Sean for hosting the event and for once again making his apiary available to us. This event was jointly hosted by ourselves and the Native Irish Honeybee Society (NIHBS). Lectures and demonstrations catered for both Beginners as well as the More Experienced. Paul O'Sullivan of Bee Supplies was there with beekeeping equipment for sale.

We were mindful of the recent notification from FIBKA Secretary regarding the outbreak of American Foul Brood in the Galway area, and aware that this is a serious Notifiable Disease which warrants the destruction of the infected hives. We were concerned that this Bee Improvement Workshop might have created an opportunity for the spread of disease through cross-contamination of clothing or equipment and we therefore asked beekeepers attending to act responsibly by adhering to the following infection control precautions:

1.) Please wash your bee-suit (as per the manufacturer's instructions) prior to coming to the workshop on Sunday. We also recommend that you wash your suit again after the workshop (to prevent the spread of infection to your own colonies).

2.) Please do not bring your own hive-tools or other items of equipment to the workshop.

3.) Please use the disposable gloves that will be provided for use during the workshop. (These may be fitted over your own protective gloves.)


We are thankful for everyone's co-operation, and hope that they fully enjoyed the workshop!

We're delighted to present you with our new Cumann Beachairí Chonamara - Connemara Beekeepers Association leaflet.


  • We'd like to acknowledge the kind sponsorship of SSE Airtricity Community Fund - Galway Windpark in helping to pay for its printing.


  • We also wish to thank the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 for the use of some of their content.

Please download a copy by clicking on the image on the left.


Our next Committee Meeting which will take place at Seamist House in Clifden at 20:00 on Monday 15th April.

Day Trip to NIHBS 2019 Conference - Athlone

Native Irish Honeybee Society's (NIHBS) Annual Conference is on in Athlone on 1st-2nd March.  We are proposing to arrange a minibus for anyone who wishes to attend the Conference on Saturday 2nd March which is the main day of the conference. The bus would leave Clifden at 06:00 stopping in Oughterard and/or Moycullen and arriving in Athlone in time for coffee break, registration and the start of the Conference at 09:00. The bus would then return to Clifden at approximately 19:00 in the evening.

The Conference registration fee for the day is €33 for NIHBS members and €43 for non-members (including lunch). The cost of the minibus would be dependent on the number of people travelling. If you are interested in participating please contact me Ken Figgis at: [email protected] before 31st January, as we need to establish the number of people travelling in order to determine the cost per person of the minibus. Payment (including conference registration and minibus hire) will be collected at our next monthly meeting on Sunday 10th February.

2019 Lectures & Courses

  • Beginners’ Course in Beekeeping, at Peacocke’s Hotel, Maam Cross, starting on 19th February 2019 at 7:30pm. Course fee of €30 for members or €100 for non-members includes:
  • Three weekly evening lectures
  • Visit to an apiary including practical demonstrations and hive inspections (This will take place during the summer months when the hives are at their busiest)
  • 12 months membership of the Connemara Beekeeepers’ Association (We meet monthly and hosts lectures and discussions on various aspects of beekeeping.)
  • Advice and guidance from experienced beekeepers through our mentorship programme (invaluable help when you establish your first hive!)
  • 12 months subscription to An Beachaire, the journal published by the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Association
  • Indemnity insurance

Limited places available. For bookings and enquiries, please contact Ken Figgis (Tel: 095 41092 or e-mail: [email protected]).

2. On Sunday 13th January a short Committee meeting at 1.00pm followed by a Lecture at 2.00pm on Recognizing and Identifying Honey Bee Diseases given by Dr Mary Coffey. For anyone who doesn't know her, Mary Coffey is Chief Scientist at the Bee Diagnostic Service provided by Teagasc and a leading researcher on Honey Bee Diseases. We are delighted that she has agreed to come and talk to us. It promises to be a very interesting lecture!

2018 Meetings


⛄ Our Christmas Party will be held in the Boat Inn in Oughterard on Sunday 9th December at 2pm. There will be a three-course lunch costing €25 per person. Partners are welcome. Please send me a short email if you wish to attend, [email protected] as we need to advise the hotel of numbers.⛄

On Sunday 13th January, 2019 we will have a Lecture on Recognizing and Identifying Honey Bee Diseases given by Dr Mary Coffey. For anyone who doesn't know her, Mary Coffey is Chief Scientist at the Bee Diagnostic Service provided by Teagasc and a leading researcher on Honey Bee Diseases. We are delighted that she has agreed to come and talk to us. It promises to be a very interesting lecture!

Please remember that if you haven't already renewed your membership subscription, it is now due. Membership rates remain €70 for Individuals and €100 for Family Membership. Subscriptions can be paid at the Christmas Party or by sending a cheque to the Treasurer, Rod Teck at Seamist House, Clifden, Co. Galway.


Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday 11th November.

  • We are always looking for new members to join the Committee and help with the running of the Association. There is a lot of work in managing the three Association apiaries and in order to maintain the apiaries and develop other projects we need additional help. You don't need to be a very experienced beekeeper, in fact getting involved and helping-out in the apiaries is a very good way to learn! So, if anyone would like to put their name forward for election to the Committee, please let me know. Ken Figgis, Secretary.
  • We have been asked by the Federation to collect membership subscriptions for 2019 by mid-December, to ensure that there is no interruption in receiving your copies of "An Beachaire". Please download a membership form here: ( and have it completed before you come to the meeting. It would greatly help to speed-up the administration of your membership if you pay your subscription for 2019 at the AGM. (Subscriptions rates will remain the same for the coming year.)


  • Committee Meeting took place at Peacocke’s Hotel, Maam Cross on Thursday 1st November, 8.00pm

Registration for Beekeepers?

Brendan Murray, the Secretary of FIBKA has recently contacted all Associations seeking to answer whether or not there is a need for us as beekeepers to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM).

"Our insurance has no explicit reference to registration and only has the generic requirement that we comply with the current legislation. This has, of course, always been the case, just like any other insurance. Beekeepers who only produce honey for their own use or do not produce honey at all are completely exempt from this registration requirement – it simply does not apply. Our insurance covers this group of beekeepers.

On the other hand, Beekeepers with a larger number of hives who produce commercial levels of honey are definitely primary producers of honey and, as such, are required to register.

We have been trying to arrange a meeting with DAFM and it looks like this will happen on 8th December. Until we have the complete response from DAFM and an agreement as to what registration is necessary, please hold off with returning the updated registration. We will probably have complete information in a few weeks so it’s not an undue delay."

Phillip Mc Cabe: Ireland's Bee Man

Philip McCabe R.I.P.

Born: July 17th, 1945
Died: October 20th, 2018

Philip McCabe, who has died suddenly after a short illness, was the best known and most respected expert in beekeeping in Ireland. A third generation beekeeper, he was a passionate promoter of beekeeping through his courses at the Beekeeping Summer School in Gormanston College, his talks at Bloom, the Ploughing Championships and in schools and latterly through his work as president of Apimondia, the international federation of beekeeper associations.

SSE Páirc Gaoithe Community Fund 2018

Cumann Beachairí Chonamara were delighted to be awarded €1,000 by the SSE Páirc Gaoithe Community Fund 2018, towards our Community Education Programme. Two of our representatives attended the presentation on the 15th of August in Oughterard Community Centre to accept the cheque on our behalf. We are most grateful for this. Míle buíochas!

SSE and Coillte have awarded over €210,000 to community groups close to Galway Wind Park through the new Local Community Fund. The inaugural Local Fund presentation took place at the Oughterard Community Centre on Wednesday 15 August, with a total of 74 local groups receiving funding for projects focused on energy efficiency; safety; environmental sustainability; social sustainability; recreation and tourism; and education and skills development.

Cumann Beachairí Chonamara (Connemara Beekeepers Association) received a grant towards the funding of our community education programme, as well as new equipment for its lecturers. Frank Conroy, Assistant Secretary at Cumann Beachairí Chonamara, said: “The funding from Galway Wind Park will allow us to roll-out training to our members and increase awareness in the wider community, as well as enabling us to purchase new equipment for our lecturers. It will ultimately help our ambition of furthering the craft of beekeeping across the Connemara region, and the conservation of the native Dark Bee.”


Prime quality Native Connemara Black Bees for Sale

We are pleased to announce that we now have Nucs from our Association apiaries for sale for the special price of €180.

These Nucs contain young queens bred in Connemara from prime quality Native Black Bees (Apis Mellifera Mellifera).

(Please note that €180 is for the bees only. You can choose between transferring the bees and brood into your own hive or purchasing the nuc box for an additional €20.)

For enquiries, you may contact me, Ken Figgis, by telephone at 095 41092.

Lock up your Bees?

August 2018

Sean Devaney of Galway County Council emailed our group regarding Treatment of Invasive Plant Species along the N59.

“We are about to undertake the 3rd year of treatment of Invasive Plants along the N59 in County Galway. The treatment is planned for next week (w/c 20/08/2018) but it will likely be the Wednesday or Thursday before it starts.”

An Beachaire now available online


Dermot O Flaherty the manager of An Beachaire has announced that all current 2018 issues of An Beachaire magazine are now also available in digital format on FIBKA's new website:

If members register on the new website they will be able to read this year's issues of the magazine which will be made available online in this manner for registered members.

APRIL LECTURE on NOSEMA, by Helen Mooney

Our Monthly Lecture for Members took place on Sunday 8th April, at 2.00pm in the Boat Inn, Oughterard.

Helen Mooney from Ballina BKA, who has studied bee genetics and diseases, gave an excellent Lecture and Demonstration on how to check for Nosema in your bees using the microscope. We had the opportunity of preparing slides from a sample of dead bees and  then checking these for Nosema. Helen was focusing on Nosema in particular because of its prevalence in our bees this year. She advised on the necessary procedures to cut down on its spread in our apiaries.

Scéalta spéisiúla ón gCósta Thiar

Na Beacha - Paddy Ó Fiannachta

Tá bliain eile curtha tharainn againn, an tríú bliain fliuch i ndiaidh a chéile, aimsir nach raibh feiliúnach do dhaoine, d’ainmhí ná go na beacha. Níor tháinig aon tseachtain tirim as a chéile ó dheireadh Bealtaine ach mar sin fhéin rinne na beacha a ndícheall agus bhí toradh maith go leor ar a gcuid oibre agus tuairim is 30 punt meala i ngach coirceog. An scéal is fearr faoi na beacha i mbliana, dár liomsa, ná go bhfuil an bheach dúchasach, Apis Mellifera Mellifera, ag leathnú amach ar fud Chonamara ar fad agus i mbliana iad tagtha chomh fada le Muighinis i gCarna, Leitir Móir, An Trá Bháin agus Baile Chonaola agus tá scéalta maithe ag teacht ar ais ó na beachairí a bhfuil siad acu. Taispeánann sé seo dúinn gur fiú go mór an phóir seo a choinneal ag imeacht agus is fiú go mór an t-iarracht a dhéanamh iad a scaipe ar fud na tíre ar fad. Tá an-mholadh á fháil ag an mhil freisin agus tuairiscí dearfacha ag teacht ar ais chugainn. Tá an-tóir ar an mhil fraoigh, an ghnáth mhil agus ar an mhil ón eidhneán agus daoine ag rá go bhfuil sé ag déanamh anmhaitheas go deo dhóib ó thaobh sláinte de agus é ag cuidiú le daoine a bhfuil fadhbanna scamhóga, boilg, craicinn agus go leor rudaí eile acu. Tá ard-mholadh ag dul do Choiste Chumann Beachairí Chonamara a raibh bliain an-ghnóthach acu agus an t-uafás oibre déanta acu. Is láidre muid nuair a sheasann muid ar fad le chéile agus go mba fada buan an cumann.