Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera


Officers for 2020. Elected at AGM 13/3/2021

Chairperson: Aoife Nic Giolla Coda,

Secretary: Loretta Neary,

Vice Chairperson: Gerard Coyne,

Treasurer: Paula Somers-Kennedy,

Public Relations Officer: John Thorp,

Membership: Aideen Day,

Webmaster: Jonathan Getty,

Editor of The Four Seasons/Ceithre Ráithe: Thomas Hayden,

Fundraiser: Pauline Walsh,

Regional Directors:
Connacht: Gerard Coyne,
Leinster: John Little,
Munster: Aoife Nic Giolla Coda,
Ulster: Geoffrey Davidson,

Other Committee Members:
Connacht: Mary Hyland,
Connacht: Sean Osborne,
Leinster: Colm ONeill,
Leinster: John Summerville,
Munster: Micheál Mac Giolla Coda,
Munster: Alan Forskitt,
Ulster: Liam Murtagh,

40 Responses

  1. I am a member of NIHBS and planned to expand my few hives with a queen from Michael Mc Giolla Coda, due to arrive in august. However I am now without any hives – all died over the winter. Can you suggest a source for 2 nucs ? I am living in straffan, co.kildare. Thanks. Karl.

    1. Hi Karl.
      If you are a member of a local Beekeeper Association, that would be my first port of call.
      Some members may have a nuc or two for sale.
      Losses have been heavier than usual this winter so it may be difficult to source a nuc in the short term.

  2. Hi. My name is Karl Presch & i am a member of NIHBS &County dublin beekeepers.
    Can you please let me know if you have any Queen Rearing courses in July 2014 please.

  3. My son has started transition year and would like to complete a project relating to the native Irish bee which he and his team hope to submit to the Young Scientist. He has started beekeeping himself this year and is very interested in the whole process. I would be very grateful based on your experiences in NIHBS if you could suggest areas where he could focus the project. I am more than happy to have him contact you and your colleagues. It’s a great opportunity for the school to gain a better understanding of our native creature and hopefully produce some value information and analysis.
    Regards and thank you

  4. Hi
    Didn;t know where else to put this message so here goes.
    I have recently discovered what I think is a hones bee colony livine ina cavity in an old
    tree trunk in my back garden. I live in Finglas, Dublin.
    Am happy to have to have them there! Is there anything I should know?!?


    1. Just leave them to their own devices.
      Feral colonies like this don’t usually last long due to the varroa mite.
      Have you got a photograph of the bees?

  5. This is for Peter Jennings. Hi Peter, I am conducting research into the honey bee in Ireland. Although I’m based in Galway I’m up in Dublin regularly and would be interested in seeing the colony the next time I’m up. Can you contact me at please. Thanks.

  6. I have a colony of bees recently established in my roof space, they having found a break in a soffit ventilator that I was’nt aware of. I can access the roof space where they are coming & going via a hatch in my upstairs side walling should I wish. A beekeeper I know (in Germany!) tells me they’ll do no harm – I’m happy enough to leave them once I have the correct information. I live in west Waterford, in case the location is of any interest. Having found the NIHBS on-line, I’m sending off a membership application & looking forward to The Four Seasons arriving. I can forward a photo if of any interest also.

  7. Hi. Not sure if I’m asking in the right place but I’m looking for some advice. I have bees in my front garden,I’m not sure if it’s a swarm, I can’t see any hive but there’s alot of bees in and around the hedge. I’m not sure what is the best thing to do? I live in an estate and have a small yard with a lot of children nearby so do want the bees to move on if possible! I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Thanks, Ann Marie.

    1. Can you send a picture. They are most likely bumblebees. A honeybee swarm usually moves on after a few hours and they don’t make nests in hedges or under the ground like bumbles.

  8. Hi I’m looking to source a local bee keeper in the lusk rush skerries area of final co Dublin to buy honey for my children’s allergies and hay fever as I have read articles which say this is a great natural way to combat the affects.

  9. I wonder if anyone has been assessing the natural capacity of bees to live with and manage varroa with a view to selecting resistant strains – or going further and actively not treating, taking the risk in losing colonies with the long term aim of having varroa resistant bee populations?

  10. David, exactly what you say is possible. Put simply, you allow for losses each year and then repopulate the losses with the surviving hives. This builds in the genetic resistance over time. Yes you lose weak hives, strong ones survive… but this is how nature works.

    Medicating hives is not the way forward, it is a crutch and not sustainable.. and I guarantee this will be shown to be the case by future generations
    Many will argue otherwise but this is because many have commercial interest with short term gain mentalities. We need to preserve the native bee, selectively breeding resistance to varroa and other ailments.

    Other examples are the unnecessary feeding of sugar syrup to bees over winter.. Native, acclimatised bees should not need this if managed correctly and allowed an adequate supply of their own produce…honey.

    BTW, thanks to all the hard work done by members of NIHBS to keep this great cause alive.

    1. Unless you have a large number of colonies you most likely lose all of them so there are no survivors left to repopulate with. A better approach is to look for colonies more capable of dealing with varroa such as those with VSH trait. Selective breeding can then take place from these.

  11. Thanks for all your comments. It’s scary taking the plunge but I do accept that we need to move beyond propping up bees artificially as we only do them a disservice in the long term – making the honey bee unavoidably dependent upon Beekeepers for its survival. Taking a non interventionist approach will need a change in management. Experience over the past three years with long hives and less intervention, plus a few other things points to a different style of beekeeping if this approach is to work and if we are to see ‘the survival of the fittest’.

  12. Hi, I live in Clifden Co Galway and I have noticed a bee hive in an neighbours house over the past few years. The owners of the house no longer live in the house but are set to return at some stage. It would be a pity to lose the hive as I know the issues we are having with the native bee. Is there anything that can be done to relocate the hive? As they access through a small crack in the wall? And the house will be finished/plastered wen they return

  13. Hello,

    I am beginner bee keeper in County Down, I have had a couple of hives before with varying degrees of success. I am now exclusively and desperately looking for a nuc of native Irish bees, I know a couple of experienced beekeepers in the area and they neither have nor know anybody who has native Irish bees. So my question is

    Does anybody have any Native Irish nucs for sale?

  14. Hi, I have some denatured sugar left over from a government subsidy scheme some 30 years ago. After a long spell of being without bees, I have just got two wild swarms and am feeding them with shop sugar.
    Question is, would it be safe to feed the denatured sugar at this stage? It looks ok ,with a slight rust colour through it. Thanks in anticipation.

  15. Hi,

    I recently read a post about feeding bees a mixture of two spoons teaspoons of sugar mixed with a teaspoon of water..

    I was then told on our residential Facebook that this is dangerous for bees.

    I would be grateful if you could kindly give your knowledge and advice in this matter.

    Kind regards,

  16. Hi im looking for advice re honey bees which are under my roof tiles since April.i have had 2 local bee keepers confirm that they are a honey bee and that they would be fine .they would move on them just worried about where all that goes and will it seep into plaster boards. I would like to have them retrieved .
    Liz Ryan

  17. Hi all,
    just read a very interesting article on Slovenia, their way of beekeeping and climate change.
    Worryingly, is the fact that, according to this article, the Slovenian honey bee is the only honey bee specie protected in the EU.
    Is this true? Is there perhaps a scope to have the native black honey bee also protected, after all Ireland is an island and our native bees need all the protection that can be provided.
    Please, see article in link

    All the best,

  18. Hi
    I work on a dairy farm in Co Kerry, and would like to set a field near the boundary with a river in Native Wild Flowers, and to place some bee hives on it. Is there anyone in Co Kerry who would like to put their own hives on the area, but would have to look after them themselves?

  19. I have just paid 2X €25 in the membership section for 2 Apideas connected with the Queen rearing project with NKBKA via NIHBS.
    any problems get back to me
    John Byrne

  20. Hello all,

    I had a look at the list, but wondering if there are any other contacts for Nuc sales in the Northwest direction – Sligo/ Leitrim/ South Donegal area? Thanks

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