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Sir, – Today the Heritage Bill will be debated in Seanad Éireann. Introduced by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys, the Bill proposes to permit “the cutting, grubbing and otherwise destroying” of hedgerows in August each year and burning in the uplands during the month of March.
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3 Counties Beekeeping Association
Over the last number of years I have been a keen beekeeper in the north side of the Galtee mountains where I have had a couple of successful days in January 2015 and 2016 informing locals on the craft of beekeeping and pollinators with speakers from An tIonad Glas Catherine Caulwell, Micheál Mac Giolla Coda Galtee Honey farm and Veronica Santorum from Limerick’s Buzzing.
As a result of the interest in the locality and the distance from other association meeting Points, County Limerick Beekeeping Association Mungret 40-45minutes away, North Tipperary Nenagh 1hour, South Tipperary Clonmel 1 hour and North Cork Mallow 1 hour we had a prime location to set up another association. There are a few members who could not attend mid week lectures because of working away so our meetings on a Saturday evening suits the vast majority. We are also very interested in reaching the younger age group in schools etc.
With this new association we are a voluntary conservation association of the Native Irish Honey Bee, which should be beneficial to the south side of the Galtee Mountains being conservation area also.
Our inaugural meeting took place in Knocklong Community Centre on July 2nd where we decided to hold meetings on the first Saturday of every month excluding August. We began in September and registered our interest with FIBKA. There was a bit of misunderstanding of me reading the rules when trying to affiliate to FIBKA:
- (a) An Association, applying for affiliation shall be a group of not less than
Unfortunately I didn’t read as Ten Fully Paid Up FIBKA members so there was a time delay for the application to get sorted. We have had our application in awaiting the next sitting of FIBKA results of which we have been acceptance as affiliated association to FIBKA.
We have our committee of Chair: Pat Duggan, Secretary: Chris Shute, Treasurer: David O’Grady, PRO/Education: Pauline Walsh plus twelve more full members and four associated.
Our apiary is located in Knockainey on property of one of our members. We just need to get bees at the site which we are hoping for in late spring early summer. This year will see some of our members taking the Preliminary exam [provincial] in conjunction with An tIonad Glas and their students as the location for both written and practical. as we have been learning as a beginners group all winter we shall do practice on weekends every week to allow students time to learn the art of handling bees and be comfortable to take the exam and handle their own colonies when they acquire same.
This is an exciting time to be setting up an association as there are many people whose parents or grandparents had bees in their youth and had thought of wanting to become a beekeeper also as well as those who have never had any connection and want to learn the art also. There are many farmers who and friends who like the idea of having a colony or two on their land helping the environment and the bees to survive though not want to handle the colonies. This suits us who want to expand and have the support of good safe sites for the colonies also.
I have to thank Micheál and Aoife Mac Giolla Coda for their encouragement and support in setting up the new association. We welcome members from any location not just the 3 counties and look forward to a long and fruitful life which enables more people to become involved in the working of these wonderful creatures. As we progress we hope to be able to be able to breed Apis m. mellifera for our own members and for others across the country to enhance the biodiversity and gene pool of our native Irish bees. I look forward to giving updates on the progress over the next few years.
PRO 3 Counties Beekeeping Association
The Galtee Bee Breeders will hold their AGM on Sunday 29th Jan. in the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel Cahir at 2pm. New members are more than welcome to join.
The Native Irish Honey Bee Society will hold its annual conference in The Athlone Springs Hotel on Friday the 10th. and Saturday 11th. February. Special rates have been agreed with the Hotel phone 090 644 4444 and mention you are a delegate.
Check out the list of speakers
Anyone joining now will get membership until the end of 2017.
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GETTING through the winter isn’t simple. However, the honey bee is one of the few insect species that is adapted to survive winter without becoming completely dormant.
The genetic background of the colony also influences the overwintering success. In a study conducted during 2009 and 2014, spanning 20 apiaries across Europe, led by the Bee Institute in Hessen, Germany, it was found that winter survival was impacted upon by the genetic background of bees.
Colonies headed by local queens survived an average of 83 days longer than colonies headed by non-local queens.
Read more in the IrishExaminer