Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

Queen Rearing and Bee Improvement Workshops 2024

In a bid to curb the importation of non-native honey bees, queen rearing workshops are announced by the Native Irish Honey Bee Society


Sunday 19th May 2024: The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) today announces seven Queen Rearing  Workshops to take place across the country over the next few weeks to show beekeepers how to rear their own queen bees and prevent the importation of non-native honey bees. The workshops are for both new and experienced beekeepers and anyone interested is encouraged to attend. The first one takes place in Naas, Co. Kildare on Sunday 26th May. 


Chairperson of NIBHS, Loretta Neary said: “It is appropriate on World Bee Day that we are announcing these workshops. Ireland is home to 100 species of bees, and a third of those are threatened with extinction. While the honey bee is not under threat, the Native Irish Bee is. Ireland is the last stronghold in the world of a pure population of Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm), our native honey bee. This bee has taken 6,500 years to evolve to perfectly meet the demands of the Irish climate and it is in massive risk of extinction due to hybridisation as a result of imported non-native bees.”


Neary continued: “Honey bee hybridisation in Ireland increased from under 5% in 2018 to over 12% in 2023, with some areas having more than 30% hybrids. Many beekeepers confirm that hybrids are increasing, leading to aggression and other undesirable characteristics. If this trend continues, the genetics will be lost and part of our natural heritage – our native Irish honey bee, will be lost forever.”



Speaking about the Queen Rearing and Bee Improvement Programme, Alan Forskitt who manages it said: “The primary aim of NIBHS is to promote the conservation and reintroduction of the native Irish Honey Bee and in order to do that, we need to reduce the demand for imported non-native queens. A local native queen always does better than one that has had to travel for miles so we have established over 40 queen rearing programmes scattered around the country which are working well at a local level to introduce native queens into apiaries.  


“Separately, we are holding these seven workshops for members of the public to attend. They are great fun, with live practical demonstrations and everyone who wants to, can get some hands-on experience of the different methods that can be used when rearing queens. There really is something for every level.”


NIHBS has nearly 1,100 members and was founded in 2012 due to the huge desire by beekeepers for an all-Ireland organisation to conserve our native honey bee.


For more information on the workshops:


Queen Rearing and Bee Improvement Workshops Dates and locations:


Sunday 26th May, Naas, Co. Kildare, W91 THF8.

Sunday 9th June, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, R35 H7K4 

Sunday 23rd June, Galway, H91 Y8CX.

Sunday 7th July, Turlough Park, Co. Mayo, F23 HY31 (The Murmur of Bees exhibition.)

Sunday 14th July, Haynestown, Co. Louth, at the Kevin Griffin Apiary.

Saturday 18th August, Dromore, Banbridge, Co. Down, at Graceystown Road, Banbridge, Co. Down. 

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