Report from FIBKA Regional Meeting/Workshop
Date: 08/02/2020 Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown
Attendance from EWBA:
- Donal Lehane Vice-Chair
- John Cunningham, Education Officer
- Josephine Hickey
- Anne Marie Fogarty, Hon. Sec.
- Paul O’Brien, FIBKAPresident
- Michael Maunsall
- Tom Prendergast
Paul O’Brien : FIBKA Update
- FIBKA now moved to a CLG (Company Limited by Guarantee)
- Executive reduced from 25 to 7 members
- Established 7 Boards of Management
- Saved €10k by foregoing the National Ploughing Championships.
- Annual survey is now on-line and resulted in a saving of €4k on paper/postage
- Moved to new accountants and saved €2k
- Identified office space in Athlone with a view to buying/renting
- Developed a new Constitution, a copy can be had on request
- Education, 5members
- Scientific, 8 members
- Native Bee, 4 members, Peter Walsh Chair SKBA is a member
- Youth Development, 5 members
- Publicity, 6 members
- Finance, 3 members
- Summer school, 3 members, John Cunningham EWBA is a member
Membership Income Expenditure
3557 290,000 265000
3100 260,000 241000
Michael Maunsell: Bee Genetics
Michael gave a very interesting scientific talk explaining in detail bee genetics, some relevant terms, how genes determine everything i.e. the bee’s developmental characteristics, appearance and behaviour.
We learned that the greater the drone genetic diversity the stronger our colonies will be, how genes determine the difference between bees and other organisms, that drones carry different genes for a variety of bee traits, and because of multiple mating bees in a colony will have different fathers and therefore workers influence within a hive will vary genetically in terms of pollen/nectar gathering, queen rearing, larval care, hygienic behaviour and swarming…which is good.
We also learned that genetically diverse swarms establish new colonies faster, build more comb, and have high foraging levels and gain weight better.
Genetics are affected by in-breeding thus the need for a diverse drone population. Inbreeding results in queen problems i.e. low egg production, reduced lifespan, reduced drone fertility and reduced flight activity.
Diverse genetics are crucial to colony strength. The greater the genetic diversity of our bees, the greater the health, the build-up and the productivity.
Tom Prendergast: Preparing for the season ahead
Tom, gave a very practical lecture and asked us to decide “What is it that we want from our Bees”.
- ? Maximum Crop.
- ? Chemical free bees.
- ? A few pots of honey for the family.
- ? native Irish Bees
- ? Selling Nucs
He said that deciding what we want decides how we are going to plan the coming season.
Tom talked about
- The need to preserve the wood in our aperies, stands, floors, boxes, roof etc
- Closing up dead hives quickly to prevent robbing. Assess the colony and sterilise all parts
- Heft hives and feed fondant in winter, watch Nucs, Feed syrup after 17/03 if needs be.
- Monitor for Varroa with OMF.
- Reasons for bad colonies: Bad queens, disease, varroa, lack of pollen, lack of forage, BEEKEEPER bad practice.
- Replace poor Q’s in April.
- Have 1 Nuc for every 2-3 colonies
- Give space. Add new foundation at the dandelion flow.
In summary: Work with your bees. Don’t keep poor colonies or queens. Keep the Apiary clean and tidy. Feed during the winter and check for disease in spring i.e Nosema, AFB, EFB. Keep a few spare queens and have Nucs to replace poor performers.