Image description


Dromore Beekeepers’ Association


March 2017






1        Recent Events


2        Programme 2017


3        Beekeeper’s Voluntary Registration


4        Honey Bee Husbandry Survey


5        In Your Apiary


6        Announcements




1        Recent Events



7th January. “Apiary Open Day/Oxalic Acid Demonstration”.


The event was a great success. Many members attended to wish all a Happy New Year. Api-Bioxal® was distributed to DBKA members that pre-ordered the product for treating Varroa infestation in the hives.


Picture taken by Aidan Donnelly.


17th January.Hive Records, Bee Maths & Easy Swarm Control”. Keith Pierce (Dublin BKA).


Keith gave a talk about how to keep records in order to maximise honey production and improve selection traits when breeding for queens. He also gave an account of how to control swarming more easily.

21st February.Practical Quiz Night”. DBKA.


There was multi-demonstration workshop with topic including queen rearing, wax, pollination, mead, honey, section and cut comb production. The event received good feed back from the attendees.


2        Programme 2017


We have arranged an interesting and exiting programme for 2017. We are sure it will cover everybody’s needs and expectations. These are the topics for the first quarter of the year:


21st March. “The Work of the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI)  - University of Sussex”. By: Norman Carreck (LASI). Norman Carreck has been keeping bees since the age of 15. Between 1991 and 2006 he was apiculturalist in the Plant and Invertebrate Ecology Division, with responsibility for maintaining about 80 colonies of honey bees. He was also fully involved in the two research groups - one on pollination ecology;  the second on bee pathology. He obtained the National Diploma in Beekeeping in 1996, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society in 2004, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2011. He is a member of the Technical and Environmental Committee of the British Beekeepers Association, a Trustee of the C.B. Dennis British Beekeepers Research Trust, a member of the Examinations Board for the National Diploma in Beekeeping, a member of the “Bee Health Advisory Forum” for the Defra “Healthy Bees Plan”, the UK member of the Executive Committee of the international honey bee research network "COLOSS", and is Senior Editor of the Journal of Apicultural Research. He is employed as Science Director of the International Bee Research Association and is based at the University of Sussex.


11th April. “Swarming”. By: Jonathan Getty (Belfast Beekeepers’ Association). Jonathan will talk about his practical experience in controlling swarming. This talk will be useful for the members ahead of the swarming season. NOTE: Please not the change of date. This meeting will be held the 2nd Tuesday of the month, NOT the 3rd Tuesday of the month because it falls within the Easter holiday week.


16th May. “Increasing the Honey Crop in Ireland”. By: Michael Gleeson (FIBKA). Michael is one of the organisers of the annual beekeeping conference in Gormanston. He will give us his tips for maximising honey production in our hives for 2017.


NOTE: Please note that, although speakers and topics are confirmed, changes may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. In the event of any changes in the program, we will immediately notify DBKA members by e-mail and/or post.



3        Beekeeper’s Voluntary Registration


The Department of Agricuture (DAERA) is encouraging the voluntary registration of beekeepers and their apiaries on DataBees to help the Bee Inspectorate with their inspections and disease surveillance. This will assist with pest and disease control, tracing introduction and spread, and allow us to alert registered beekeepers of disease or pest outbreaks.

The DAERA Bee Health program is for the benefit of all beekeepers who keep Apis mellifera bees in Northern Ireland. There is no fee for this registration, or for any statutory control inspections.



4        Honey Bee Husbandry Survey


The 2016-17 Honey bee husbandry survey is now online at the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) website ( An interactive PDF file version is also available to download.

This is the 9th annual survey and the results obtained over the years have been important in influencing the bee health policy of DARD (Department of Agriculture & Rural Development) in Northern Ireland, and also supporting the testing for bee diseases/pests carried out by AFBI. 

I would therefore encourage you to participate in this survey (if you have not done so already). Any information gathered is used to produce a report on beekeeping practices which will become available to view later this year. The option in the survey to provide personal details is entirely voluntary and will not be published or used for any other purpose. 

Paper questionnaire copies of the survey and return addressed envelopes can be supplied if requested by e-mail to or to Ivan Forsythe, Entomology Laboratory, Bee Health, Grassland and Plant Science, SAFSD, Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, 18a Newforge Lane, Belfast, BT9 5PX.



5        In Your Apiary


March. The queen should be in a full egg lay and bees should be very hungry. Heft the hives and feed fondant or syrup if they feel light. Remove mouseguards (you may have to remove them in February –according to outside temperatures and if bees are bringing pollen-). Carry out a quick inspection on a warm still day. Monitor Varroa mite levels and treat immediately if the daily mite drop exceeds eight. Get ready for swarming season the following month by having spares hives/nuc boxes ready to accommodate swarms.

NOTE: Check for any signs of Brood Diseases (EFB/AFB). If suspicious notify your local Bee Inspector or approach DBKA Committee confidentially.


April. Carry out detailed inspections weekly on a warm still day. When bees occupy most of a supper, add another. Starting of swarming season!!! Swarming is colony reproduction but you should control it in order to minimise nuisance to your neighbours and improving honey harvest during the year. Make sure your queens are marked and clipped. Any frames with holes or mouldy comb should be moved outside of the brood nest for replacement with new frames of foundation at a later date when they are empty. You should change your frames after a maximum of 2 years.


May. Carry out detailed inspections weekly (in unclipped queens) or every 10 days (in clipped queens). This is still the peak of swarming season. It is the ideal month for re-queening and/or starting your queen rearing program. Add supers, if needed. Monitor Varroa mite levels. The colony is in danger of collapsing if the daily mite drop is above six.


June.  We are still in swarming season. June may have a foraging gap unless your apiary is near a field of white clover (Trifolium repens). If your weekly inspections reveal that food stores are low, feed with 1:1 syrup as long as there are no supers on the hive. Harvest spring crop. Monitor Varroa mite levels and treat immediately if the daily mite drop is above ten. Mark and clip any new mated queens.


NOTE: These notes are for guidance only and each person should take necessary care of their own bees according to individual circumstances, experience and weather factors. We are not responsible for any misfortunes be falling on your bees by following the above notes.



6        Announcements


Dates for your calendar:


-          International Seminar Series 2017 (Co. Cork Beekeepers Association) 24th – 26th March 2017. Dr. Marlak Spivak (Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota) will talk about Pollinators; Propolis; and, Breeding for a Hygienic Bee. Dan Basterfield (Beekeeper in Devon) will talk about Reading Bees; Bees for Honey and Money; and, Queen Raising. You can book on:

-          BBKA Spring Convention 7th – 9th April 2017. The BBKA Annual Convention includes Lectures, Workshops, Partner Programme and Beekeeping Trade Show at Harper Adams University, Shropshire. More details in the following link:

-          Bee Curious Day (17th June 2017) at Oxford Island Nature Reserve  Centre(Lough Neagh). Bee Curious event aims to celebrate the value of pollinators and their significance to local food producers and the wider countryside.  As well as selling local produce there will be cookery demonstrations, a range of stalls which will provide locally produced foods including honey and preserves, cosmetics derived from natural ingredients and bee keeping equipment. There will be also a range of organisations on hand to provide advice and information on ways to help our pollinators and plants on sale to help visitors to bring pollinators into their gardens. Highly recommended.

-          30th July to 4th August. Gormanston Letures/Workshop. The Annual Beekeeping Summer Course 2017 will take place at the Franciscan College, Gormanston, Co Meath (RoI). The Beekeeping Course at Gormanston is internationally renowned attracting beekeepers from all parts of the world. The range of lectures and workshops has universal appeal both for the beginner and the advanced enthusiast covering a wide programme in the practical and scientific areas. This year’s invited guest speaker is Dr. Ralph Büchler. He works at the bee institute in Kirchhain which is one of the larger German training and research centers for beekeeping. Honey bee selection, disease resistance and alternative Varroa treatment concepts are in the focus of Dr Büchler research activities. More information can be obtained at

-          Annual Conference and Honey Show 21st October 2017 at Oxford Island Nature Reserve (Lough Neagh). This year’s invited guest speakers are Professor Mark Winston and Professor Jürgen Tautz. More information can be obtained at





1-      “Standard methods for Apis mellifera brood as human food”. Jensen, A.G., et al. (2016) Journal of Apicultural Research. Insects hold enormous potential to address food and nutritional security issues. The honey bee is a key insect, given its importance for pollination, as well as its products which can be directly consumed, like honey, pollen and brood. Research on edible insects is an emerging field that draws upon methods and techniques from related fields of research. This paper provides recommendations and research protocols centered on production of worker and drone brood for human consumption, on brood harvesting, including hygienic considerations, on nutritional aspects of brood, on sensory analyses of brood and brood products and on the gastronomic applications of honey bee brood; all of which will help elucidate the edible potential of honey bee brood now, and in the future.  Journal of Apicultural Research, published online 20 Octiber 2016, 1- 28.

2-      Bee-Gym. It sounds right, a gym for bees. The Bee Gym was developed on the principle that with a simple device bees can be encouraged to groom themselves more effectively to remove Varroa mites. It encourages and enhances the natural grooming behaviour of honeybees, assisting in the removal of Varroa mites from the colony. The Bee Gym should be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management approach to Varroa control. More information on:

3-      “Social regulation of ageing by young workers in the honey bee, Apis mellifera”. In the honey bee, Apis mellifera, the presence of brood and of old workers carrying out foraging tasks are important social drivers of ageing, but the influence of young adult workers is unknown, as it has not been experimentally teased out from that of brood. This study showed that young workers significantly reduced the lifespan of nestmate workers, similar to the effect of brood on its own. Young workers and brood influence ageing of adult nestmate workers via different physiological pathways. Experimental Gerontology, 87(A), 84 – 91.

4-      If you have any bee news or stories that may be of interest to the association please do not hesitate to contact the Secretary (








Wishing you all a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day