Monday 20 November 2017 01:51:07 AM

Killinchy Beekeepers Ready For New Season
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KILLINCHY Beekeeper’s Association are pleased to announce that the April meeting will be next Wednesday evening at 7.30pm in Lisbarnet Community Centre and everyone is welcome to come along.

This will be the seventh meeting of what has been a very successful 2013 series of talks by a great selection of guest speakers covering a well thought out programme of bee-related topics.

Beekeepers prepare for the comng season.

Beekeepers prepare for the comng season.

The speaker this month will be Mr Jonathan Getty from Belfast Beekeeper’s Association, who will be giving a presentation on Queen rearing and making up of nucs – small “starter” hives. This is a very relevant topic given the very poor season we experienced last summer and over the winter. A pilot scheme is being established between Belfast, Killyleagh and Dromore Beekeeper’s Associations to develop a queen rearing programme to help restore bee polulations and develop bee stocks better suited to our local climate.

Ken Tait of the Killinchy Beekers said: “The meeting will take the usual format, and the talk will be followed by refreshments and time for a chat. Come and learn about these wonderful little members of society and how they contribute to our day to day living.

“Beekeepers have reported significant losses of bee colonies over the winter and very slow spring, which when added to the reported losses of other pollinators such as butterflies, for the same reasons. This will have an effect on development across our food crop supplies. Locally we have very few approved products available in the treatment of bee health, and the decline in bee numbers has been the result of colonies being weakened by varroa mite infestation and other maladies, this in simple terms has meant that colonies didn’t build up in numbers through the summer and went into the winter much smaller than sufficient to guarantee survival over the colder months.

Hives are inspected at the start of the new season.

Hives are inspected at the start of the new season.

“Because of this, local honey and hive products are scarce this year. and most commercially produced honey in the shops is sourced from outside Ireland or the UK. It’s difficult to stand over it’s purity as easily as that sourced closer to home, we should all be looking carefully at the labels on honey in the shops to check it’s origins, quite a lot comes from questionable sources -often described as “outside the EEC”, where use of some products in the treatment of bee parasites and disease may have been prohibited within the UK and Ireland on grounds of food safety.

“One of the main thrusts of the queen rearing programme is to try to bring us back to a situation where the bee population here more closely resembles the native irish bees best suited to our climate, hopefully reducing the vulnerability to imported parasites and disease which has come here with imported bees,” explained Mr Tait.