Statement regarding potential honeybee imports into Ireland

The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) is an all-Ireland organisation of about 500 members, whose sole aim is the conservation and preservation of the population of Native Irish Honey Bees – Apis mellifera mellifera.

Reports in the media continue about importing even more bees to Ireland and apart from the danger of hybridisation for native bees we all know there are major risks of also importing pests, diseases and pathogens – therefore a threat to ALL our bees.  Everyone who loves bees, no matter what association or organisation they belong to, can appreciate the potential damage – we have seen what Varroa did, and now those who enjoy beekeeping as a hobby or who are making their living from bees may have their enjoyment/livelihood threatened – simply to increase someone else’s profits.

The Dark European Honeybee, Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm) is on the brink of extinction over most of its original territory of Northern Europe. It has been hybridised due to imports of other sub species and consequent cross breeding, as well as being severely impacted by imported pests and diseases.

Pure strains still exist throughout Ireland however and scientific research has shown that such a widespread population of pure A. m. mellifera has not been reported elsewhere in Europe. Have you read this paper? (Full article: A significant pure population of the dark European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) remains in Ireland (tandfonline.com) It is now widely acknowledged that Ireland has a unique genetic resource which needs to be protected for the sake of its future in Ireland but also in European Amm breeding programs.

A recent survey by the National University of Galway (NUIG) confirmed that about 90% of beekeepers in Ireland work with Amm (of 350 respondents) and there is a significant interest in using the local bee. A separate survey by the Irish Beekeepers Association (IBA) showed that 82% use Amm, 7% Buckfast, 2% other and 5% do not know. The native black bee is actually the preferred bee for large scale honey producers as it is so well adapted to our particular environment.

Many NIHBS members have been working for 30 years and more to improve, conserve and preserve our local bee – all volunteers, simply doing the right thing for the bees. Many local Beekeeping associations have created Voluntary Conservation Areas where beekeepers agree to work with Amm only – obviously imported bees have a detrimental effect here and some areas are now being severely threatened with the introgression of non-native bees.

We all know how devastating an invasion of Small Hive Beetle could be. In Ireland, we stayed free from Varroa for many years after it arrived into UK, until it was brought in here on imported bees, very soon it was everywhere and we have had to struggle with the consequences ever since.  We understand that EFB is now wide spread in some parts of UK – we are very fearful of what that could do to our stocks, especially the newly spreading Type 3 strain of EFB?  The Asian Hornet is another significant threat.

These pests/diseases/pathogens may also damage our Bumbles, Solitary and other Wild bees – our biodiversity – already 1/3rd of Irish bees are threatened with extinction.

The awful thing is that we beekeepers CAN stop these threats, if we work together and all agree to do so.  It is not too late! It really does not make sense to bring in non-native bees to this island.  It makes sense to propagate from our good stocks here and improve them.

It is unfair for any individual or Bee Trader to take the decision on themselves to import bees when they might also be importing pests, diseases or pathogens, not to mention the as yet unknown or undiscovered ones. Please do not take the risk.

We urge everyone to respect our native honey bee and not to import any bees into any part of Ireland.  We ask all Beekeeping groups in Ireland to encourage beekeepers to purchase local bees from reputable beekeepers.

While we still can, let us appreciate what we have, nurture it and save it for the future.

The Native Irish Honey Bee Society.  4th March 2021

Some useful links here:-

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-qualifying-goods-from-northern-ireland-to-the-rest-of-the-uk?fbclid=IwAR2qQ0VbwX1cw8v6rX2fGv_AiW7-ihPlwK6WlEoLZNfZi-wHzvSj8r96FJM#qualifying

https://deframedia.blog.gov.uk/2021/02/08/bee-importation/

https://bibba.com/imports/

https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/animals/docs/reg-com_ahw_20190225_small-hive-beetle_ita.pdf

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/northern-ireland/stung-by-brexit-beekeeper-faces-100k-loss-40044816.html

https://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2021-02-15/bee-keeper-stung-by-brexit-rules?fbclid=IwAR3CTvT7z0ZFO0bgrRtogFEc7qt2pWT0BU53dRDt6pzX-hniA6fPPurWlJc

 

 

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Sicamm Conference Athlone postponed until September 2021

NEW Dates – 3rd to 5th September 2021 and black bee excursions on 5th & 6th

 

Good news!  We are delighted to confirm that our key speakers, Tom Seeley, Andrew Abrahams and Raffaele Dall’Olio will still be able to attend. 

UPDATE – December 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are keeping well despite Covid-19.  Looking after our bees kept many of us sane this year when other areas were very difficult.

Here in Ireland, we are learning to live with the virus and looking forward to having an effective vaccine soon. Earlier this week the 14 day Incidence Rate in the Republic of Ireland was 108 new cases per 100,000 of the population.  So far we have had 72,500 confirmed cases and 2053 deaths (our population is almost 5 million).

We are contacting you now just to confirm that the SICAMM conference is still planned for September 2021, as previously advised.

We also wanted to remind anyone who has already paid, that IF you would like a refund of the conference booking fee, please email me and we will arrange this via Paypal.  You must contact the hotel or B&B directly regarding the cancellation of accommodation bookings.

The situation will be kept under review, NIHBS and SICAMM board representatives will discuss in Spring 2021 and we will contact you again when more definite information should be available. 

We will soon circulate a Newsletter with more details of the conference program and updates about the SICAM mellifera FOUNDATION.  

Meanwhile, have a good winter, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you next year. 

IF you do not want further communications about this conference, please reply and I will remove your name from our list.

Regards, Loretta                                                                           Regards, Marleen, 

                                                                                                   President SICAM-mellifera

Loretta Neary

Honorary Secretary
The Native Irish Honey Bee Society

Web: http://nihbs.org/

Email: nihbs.secretary@gmail.com

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NIHBS Membership

2020 annual membership is 25 Euro and includes 4 copies of the Four Seasons magazine.
Join now via Paypal or use your credit card to become a member for the first time or to renew an existing membership.

If you want to renew membership via the membership form, it can be downloaded here
if you want to make a donation to NIHBS at any time you can do it here

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NUIG bee treatment survey

Dear Beekeeper,

In recent years some beekeepers in Ireland have begun to monitor levels of varroa in their hives and to only treat colonies that are not controlling varroa themselves. Some beekeepers have colonies doing well for multiple years without having to apply chemicals. Little of this is reported or documented in any clear fashion, nor is the mechanism for how the bees are coping in the presence of varroa known.  To further develop and support such efforts to have chemical-free beekeeping it is important to know if Irish beekeepers generally regard varroa resistance/tolerance traits as important for beekeeping. It could be very beneficial to bring beekeepers who are already trying to reduce chemical use and breed varroa resistant/tolerant bees together to see if we can cooperate to share knowledge, to acquire additional resources to develop bee improvement in Ireland, and to make such bees available to others. The work towards breeding such bees is difficult and time consuming so a cooperative effort would be a potentially good way forward.

As such we would be grateful if you would consider completing the survey either in hard copy (send by post), or do it online. We will report back the general findings of the survey to all beekeeper groups as the information should be of interest to all beekeepers. All personal information will be protected and kept strictly confidential in accordance with GDPR protocols. The survey below has been adapted from a survey developed and published by researchers In Switzerland with their permission (Guichard et al., 2019, https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2019.1654966).

Thanks and best wishes,

Grace McCormack

To complete in hardcopy please pull out the survey from the NIHBS Four Seasons magazine, complete legibly and post to me or Stephen Smith, Zoology, Room 323 MRI, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland:

To complete online visit:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NUIG_Bee_Survey

Please complete by Jan 15th 2021

You can also download the survey via the link and post it via email.

Bee Treatment Survey

 

 

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COLOSS: Honey Bee Colony Loss/Survival Survey 2019/2020

COLOSS: Honey Bee Colony Loss/Survival Survey

2019/2020

Dear Secretary and fellow beekeepers
This short correspondence is a reminder that it is now time to complete the year’s annual
COLOSS survey on winter colony losses. To ensure that the data collected is representative
of Irish beekeeping, it is pertinent that as many beekeepers as possible complete the
Survey. Irrespective of the number of colonies you have, or the number of years you are
beekeeping, please consider completing the Survey. It is a relatively simple survey which
aims to quantify winter colony losses as well as identifying possible causes.
Since 2008, this annual COLOSS survey has been carried out as part of the National
Apiculture Programme. However this year, because the 2019-2022 National Apiculture
Programme is still out for tender, John Breen and I have agreed to conduct this year’s
COLOSS survey in a personal capacity, thus ensuring the continuity of the monitoring
programme. We obtained an extension of the University of Limerick Ethics Permission to
conduct it. This means that personal information in the responses will be treated in
accordance with the conditions of the Ethics permission: the data will only be accessed by
John Breen and me for the purpose of the Survey, and no other purpose. Any data passed to the central COLOSS consortium will be anonymized (no names and no actual addresses). The data will be stored on a password protected and encrypted laptop owned by the University of Limerick. Because of the Covid-19 situation, neither John nor I may have access to our work addresses; hence I am using my HOME address as the return address for the paper version of the Survey.
The format of this year’s Survey is similar to previous years and includes 27 short
questions. The survey may be completed manually by downloading the pdf file attached
or online by clicking on the hyperlink: www.nationalapicultureprogramme.info using a
computer, laptop, android or iphone.
To ensure that beekeepers can access the survey in the easiest way possible, this
hyperlink: www.nationalapicultureprogramme.info and all versions of the survey will also
be forwarded to the secretary of your local beekeepers associations for circulation to all
members and will also be available on the NIHBS webpage.
Please participate as your contribution will be very much appreciated
Thank you
Regards
Mary F/ John

The annual COLOSS survey on winter colony losses is now available for completion online by
clicking the hyperlink: http://www.nationalapicultureprogramme.info
Alternatively, it can be completed manually by printing the pdf file
Completed surveys should be returned to Mary F Coffey, Oldtown, Templemore, Co Tipperary
Closing date is 1 June 2020

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Bernadette Ferguson

We were very sorry to learn of the sudden death of our respected friend and colleague Bernadette Ferguson on April 9th 2020.  
 
Bernadette was a lovely and inspirational woman who, as a member of The Native Irish Honey Bee Society since 2015, worked very hard to help conserve the native Honey Bee, always in a good humoured and pleasant way, despite her health problems.  Bernadette is a great loss to us all and we will miss her.  
 
We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to her son Caoimhan, her partner Giles, her parents, brothers, sisters and extended family.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam dilis.
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NIHBS Munster Seminar reminder 7th March

Don’t forget to put 7th March in your Diary

There will be a full day of bee related talks followed by the NIHBS AGM

Full details can be found here

 

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UBKA conference 14th-15th Feb

A full list of conference speakers including Tom Seeley can be found here

The conference takes place it the usual venue of Greenmount College Antrim BT41 4PS

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Birds, Bees & Trees Feb 8th and 9th

Free Event
National Museum of Ireland
Explore biodiversity and nature this February
08 February 2020, to 09 February 2020, Turlough Park (Country Life).

Spring into life this February with a special two-day event for all of the family, from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, 8 February, and 1pm to 4pm on Sunday, 9 February.

This weekend will explore gardening, nature and biodiversity featuring expert speakers, nature walks, pop-up talks, a family fair and nature inspired arts and crafts.

Full details of the speakers and events can be found here

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NIHBS Munster seminar 2020

Munster Seminar 2020

Honey Bee Improvement Seminar

Saturday, 7th March 2020

Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co. Tipperary (Exit 11, M8)

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Mayo queen rearing and bee improvement day 14th July

Bee Improvement and Queen Rearing Workshop
Time: Sunday 14th July at 2pm
Address: Bonniconlon, Co. Mayo
(about 6 miles from Ballina on the Tubbercurry side)
Eircode: F26 T257 in Google maps should bring you right to the door

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