Gormanston Summer School for Beekeepers 12 – 16 Aug incl.

 FIBKA Gormanston Beekeepers’ Summer School  runs Monday 12th August until Friday 16th August .
It is for Beginner, Intermediate and Senior Beekeepers or anyone wanting to learn more about beekeeping and to improve their knowledge of beekeeping.
It is a brilliant week with an array of speakers and demonstrations and there are lots of social events also. You will get talking to beekeepers from Ireland, England and further afield and everyone is willing to share their information There are plenty field demonstrations planned where you will need your beesuit.
You will find several suppliers of equipment there also.
You don’t have to go for the week. You can go for a day or two. The food is also good!
The draft programme is now on the FIBKA website at  https://irishbeekeeping.ie/beekeeping-summer-school-gormanston-2019/#drafts  . Have a look at the programme to see what is on offer. You don’t have to stay within any one category. You can pop into any lecture Room or Demonstration that suits you. You may have to register for some limited ones beforehand.
You could also enter the honey show and the draft guideline are there also. A visit to the Honey Show is interesting to see all the exhibits
It really is a great week and I strongly encourage you, if you can at all, to take at least one day there.
If interested contact Michael Gleeson at gormanston@irishbeekeeping.ie

Preliminary Apiary Practical Exam 18th May 2019

Below are photos of the group that did the Preliminary Exam on 18th May 2019. We had 4 from EWBA and 3 from SKBA.

John Cunningham was the examiner.

Pat Crowley Apiary Manager and Pat Barrett provided lots of practical tuition before the exam.

Jimmy Giles was on hand also doing lots of practical work in the background

Many thanks to all who helped. It was a great day.

Apiary Demonstration Update

Dates for Apiary Demonstrations

Saturday  4th May 2019 at 14:00. Meet in carpark St Mary’s Church, Ballygunner at 13:45

Wednesday 8th May at 19:00. Meet at St Mary’s Church, Ballygunner at 18:45

Both of the above demonstrations are for the people who completed the Introduction to Beekeeping Course only

Apiary Demonstration  cancelled  on 27/04/19 due to weather restrictions


Intensive Drone Comb Cutting for Varroa Control

Article by Dr Kirsten Traynor, Flickerwood Apiary, Maryland, USA.
In the spring, you can use the biology of the bee against the biology of the mite. Mites prefer drone brood. Just through intensive drone brood cutting 4-6x per season, you can eliminate 75% of the mite population compared to controls. 
I speak to a lot of beekeepers about varroa control. Since 2001 I have run an organic apiary. For many years I was able to control my varroa in my colonies through intensive drone comb cutting and winter oxalic acid dribble treatments. In the last few years, drone comb cutting alone has not been enough, but it does help to significantly reduce mite numbers in colonies. A 2003 Bee World paper shows up to a 75% reduction in mite population via drone comb cutting compared to controls.
When I say drone comb cutting, I don’t mean the little bit of drone comb bees draw on the edges of comb or in-between boxes. Rather I mean full frames of drone comb. Like many, I invested in those green plastic drone combs when they first came out. And they are a royal pain. You need to pull them out, freeze them, then put them back in the colonies for the bees to clean out. It’s messy and you’re making the bees clean up your mess.
There is an easier, cheaper, more sustainable way. I use all mediums in my operation. So I simply use an empty medium frame with no foundation and place it on the edge of the brood nest right before the pollen bound frame, which I call the pollen wall. I use one per brood box, two per strong colony. When I was running deeps, I used one full deep in the main brood box or you could use two shallows in each brood box.
I label the frame drone on the topbar of the frame in big letters, so I can find it easily. I mark my calendar, so that I know to pull it in 3 weeks. Drones take 24 days from egg to emergence, so in 3 weeks none of those guys have escaped from their cells. It even gives me a few days of rainy weather wiggle room.
We give our bees no place to put drones, so they almost always draw perfect drone comb for me. The only time they draw worker brood instead is when the colony is headed by a newly mated queen. I cut out these drone frames every 3 weeks and put the empty frame right back in. Very simple.Takes all of 30 seconds to do. Works as a varroa mite magnet to suck mites out of your hive without chemicals.
Is it enough by itself? Definitely not. Does it give you a leg up in the race to control varroa during the season? Most definitely. How long do I do this? I keep putting the drone frames back in and cutting them out until the colony stops drawing drones; usually in July or August.
Cut the drone comb out by simply running the hive tool along the edge of the inside frame. Often gravity alone will do the trick, as drone brood is heavy.

FIBKA Preliminary Exams 2019

The FIBKA written and practical Preliminary Exams will be held on the 18/05/19

We have 4 applicants from EWBA and 3 applicants from SKBKA joining with us.

Good luck to all taking part. This is a great way to start learning more about beekeeping and learning to improve your skills.


How are your Hives doing this April?

As of April 2019 a lot of hives appear this year to be congested and adding frames of drawn brood comb or just of new foundation should be fitted on a mild day.

For those that don’t get the chance to attend their hives frequently a good idea is to put up a super on strong colonies with the middle frames of all new foundation so the bees will draw out these frames using up the ivy stores.