Native Irish Beekeeping

Native Irish Black Bees     

 The Irish Black Bee was almost threatened with extinction back in the eighties due to years of importations throughout the last century. 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 will endeavour 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 Native Irish Bees please visit Native Irish Honey Bee Society


 Marking the Queen:
 Years ending in...     ...take the following colours























Read more at Dave Cushman website:





The following are the examination dates for 2019:

Saturday April 6 2019.
Intermediate and Senior Provincial written papers.  Closing date for applications – Friday March 15 2019.

NB. In the current two year cycle these would be the practical papers and most tutors will have geared their courses to these.  In order to create a new annual cycle, scientific papers will also be offered in parallel on April 6.  This means that practical and scientific papers will be offered for candidates’ choice at both the Spring and Summer Course (Gormanston) Examinations.

Saturday May 18 2019.
Preliminary Examination.  Closing date for applications – Friday March 22 2019.

 Gormanston Summer Course Examinations 2019:

Monday August 12.  Intermediate and Senior Practical written papers.

Tuesday August 13.  Intermediate and Senior Scientific written papers.

Closing date for applications for above – Friday June 14 2019

Thursday August 15.  Preliminary Examination.  Applications received at the course or previously by post.

 For Beemaster/Intermediate Apiary Practical/Senior Apiary Practical Examinations applications must be received by Monday April 1 2019 to allow time for appropriate arrangements to be made.



Planting for Bees:

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

also, see "How Councils can support Pollinators";

feeding bee

 Starter Hives

Each year we try to produce enough nucleus hives to supply all our new members who are given first preference.

If you are thinking of taking up bee keeping contact us and book your bees early. 

Our members have first preference so why not join us.   Courses/Education/Membership

 Watch the first 3 weeks of the Bee's life:



What is the Bee's foraging zone?

How far will they travel in their search? First select your country to move the map view to the right place of the earth. Then you can zoom in to where your hive is. To mark a place, click on a point on the map. The map will then center itself onto the point, and circles will be drawn around the point. 

Swarm control instruction, Monthly to do lists, etc are on our Beginnerspage 

Mentor System

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

How do I begin?

As a Beginner you'll find some useful guides here: