The scheme will run over two plus years and enable us to bring on groups of beekeepers with the necessary skills to breed queen bees, become self sufficient in queen rearing and supply others in the local area with quality queens. Participation in year two will rely on the group achieving certain goals and give feedback to those managing the scheme in year one. In year three the groups will be required to assist with the start up of new groups by supplying a nuc of bees to them headed by a quality queen.
Mentoring and tuition will be provided by experienced queen bee breeders mainly using online materials.
The group size will be a minimum of 6 members with a maximum of 12. At least one member will have been a NIHBS member in the previous year to ensure genuine applications.
A reliable contact will be delegated to manage the group who will be the link between the group and the NIHBS administrator, they will also coordinate the group’s finances and any insurance requirements etc. and oversee the setting up of a WhatsApp group for internal and external group chat and mentoring. All members of the groups are to join NIHBS for the duration of the project and also be members of a national beekeeping association. The groups are to be based on the islands of Ireland and have the use of a suitable apiary site.
At least one experienced beekeeper with some knowledge of queen rearing to act as a point of contact and to steer the group and be the point of contact with the mentor for the weekly virtual update. An apiary site, either with existing Amm in the area or isolated to enable the area to be flooded with Amm drones over the first year. Each member is to provide and fill at least 1 apidea or mating nuc with bees.
The group will need to keep records of their own hives to use for selection for breeding from the groups own stocks after year one using the Hooper’s/GBBG format and be made available for inspection if needed. In addition to this it is advisable for the group to have the use of an incubator for the queen cells.
At the end of the year the group will need to produce records for assessment of the number of queens raised (see below) and the general progress of the group in year one to be able to progress to year two and produce a brief note of their aims for year two.