Wednesday 23 August 2017 07:16:37 AM

Killinchy Beekeepers Still Buzzing
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Have you ever wanted to keep bees and make your own honey? Why not come along to a bee-keeping meeting in Killinchy and find out what it is all about?

Killinchy and District Bee-Keeper’s Association at their monthly meeting on Wednesday evening 24 October had more to discuss than their planned presentation on Integrated Pest Management writes Ken Tait.

There was an impressive turnout at the meeting, and as well as over 45 regular attenders there were a number of visitors and new faces present, who also enjoyed the presentation and refreshments which followed.

Willie Blakely of the Dromore Bee Keepers Association pictured at the Killinchy apiary.

The excellent presentation by guest speaker Willie Blakeley of Dromore Bee-Keeper’s Association was provided general advice for bee-keepers and helped share vital ideas on the detection and treatment of disease in bee colonies going into the winter months as well preparing the hives to be as healthy as possible.

Worldwide, bees have in recent years been suffering significant losses because of a number of pests and viruses, the most persistent being the Varroa Mite, which has shown evidence of becoming increasingly resistant to the traditional forms of treatment. Willie described some emerging and alternative treatments available.

The importance of honeybees and other pollinators to the environment cannot be underestimated, and strong evidence exists showing that honeybees pollinate agricultural crops saving the UK and Irish farmers billions of pounds annually, which in turn helps slow the rising cost to us of our food produce in the shops.

Valentine Hodges, Chair of Killinchy group said: “Recently the Association had had a setback at their Apiary site at Delamont Estate, Killinchy, where a man had been witnessed using a barrow to remove four of the Association’s hives containing colonies of bees, which were being prepared for use in a training programme for newcomers to the craft of bee-keeping.

“The almost new hives and equipment that was stolen are distinctive and identifiable. Some items being unique to the Association. The suspicion is that this individual had some knowledge or experience of bee-keeping. Police are investigating the matter and anyone with any suspicions or knowledge of the incident are asked to contact Police or an Association representative.” Valentine added: “We are determined not to let this setback put us off improving education and get a teaching apiary up and running for the Spring.

“If anyone is interested in learning more about bees or beekeeping, you are very welcome to join our preliminary beekeeping classes, starting on Tuesday 12 February at Lisbarnet Community Centre.

“For information regarding the modest cost, which includes first year membership of the Association. Application form available from the secretary at [email protected]

The next meeting of Killinchy and District Beekeeping Association is Wednesday 28 November at 7.30pm at the Lisbarnet Community Centre, 18 Lisbarnet Road, Killinchy, BT23 6AW.

The topic for discussion will be “Association Apiary management and Mentoring”, presented by Alan Rea, of Belfast Bee-keeping Association.

Everyone is welcome.