Bees and Beekeeping.

Swarm in Ash tree last Summer.

Last night we attended a talk on beekeeping which was organised by the Digges Beekeeping Group, in The Commercial Hotel in Ballinamore. The speaker was Clive de Bruyn from Tiptree in Essex who is on a Spring Lecture Tour of Ireland. Clive has been a beekeeper for 40 years and is one of the world’s leading authorities on bees. His book, Practical Beekeeping has become the beekeepers bible. The talk last night was about  beekeeping mistakes.

Langstroth hive.

There was an attendance of about 100 people. Many were beginners like ourselves, many with 20, 30 and more years experience. It is great to see this resurgence in beekeeping. Here in Arigna we know of half a dozen people who are doing courses and getting bees this year. Clive did’nt have a set format, he likes audience participation and spoke on topics the audience asked questions on. Topics covered included swarming, hive health, queens, types of hives, verroa and hive management to name but a few.

Bulgarian beekeeper.

The thing we liked most about Clive’s approach is that he practises natural beekeeping. He does’nt automatically treat for verroa every year, and if he does he uses oxalic acid which is a natural product rather than chemicals. He also spoke about pollination which of course is the bees great service to humanity. Without bees we would be very restricted in our diets, mushrooms would be pretty boring after a while!  Regional variations also have to be considered, bees that do well in southern England may not be the ones for the north-west of  Ireland. Many commercial beekeepers do not want to feed their bees as they are only about making money and taking honey. Clive is all for feeding up your bees, he feeds his heavily in Autumn.

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