When I became a beekeeper, little did I know that so much of my time would be taken up by insects that are NOT honeybees. Like bumblebees, solitary bees, varroa mites, woodlice and wasps. I even encountered a very rare Death’s Head Hawk Moth at one stage! As beekeeper, I am often asked to remove …More
Wasp nests – to remove or not to remove?
Soft set honey – what is it and how is it made?
It is often said that the Irish prefer clear, runny honey. While this may be true, many of us foreigners prefer granulated or soft set honey. It might be a cultural thing, influenced by the type of forage available and the cuisine of different parts of the world. However, there is definitely a growing taste …More
Beehive insulation, condensation and ventilation
In winter and spring you will often hear beekeepers talk about beehive insulation, condensation and ventilation, and the different ways in which a hive can be set up to deal with the issue of dampness in the hive. While many novice beekeepers worry about the cold, more experienced beekeepers know that it is the dampness that can cause real damage to a colony of bees in the winter. But why is this and how can we deal with it?More
Propagating lavender – easy way to grow your own lavender
The herb-garden way of propagating lavender is completely no-nonsense. It is also very successful and so easy that you can let the kiddos do it if you please. It is miles away from complicated selecting of plant material, sterilising secateurs, using rooting powder and heated rooting mats that you can read about if you google ‘Propagating lavender’ today. You can do it without any tools at all, and there are no pots required either! And very little, if any, mollycoddling of the little plant babies. It’s a win-win for the busy and cash strapped gardener!More
Spring preparations and first inspection
For many beekeepers, the start of spring is usually one big, long, drawn out wait for good weather. Weather warm enough and calm enough for the beekeeper to spring into action for the first inspection of the year. It may come at the end of March, but it may equally be April until the conditions are right, and we can finally don our bee-suits. Read this article to find out how to get your spring preparations underway and all you need to know for that all important first inspection of the year.More
The importance of mentoring
Halfway into my first summer as a beekeeper a man in a white van drove up and parked outside my gate. He got out of the van, opened the gate and without as much as a hello uttered: ’You have bees.’ That encounter was the start of a long, enriching and wonderful friendship. The man in the van was Leo, and he was to become my mentor over the next few years. Until the playing-field was levelled, and we became partners in crime.
I always thought of mentoring as something other people availed of, probably a bit too fancy for me. And anyway, I have always had a rebellious mind and was never too keen on taking advice or accepting authorities. I just never though that mentoring was for me! I was going to create my own path in life and learn from my own mistakes. And then Leo opened that gate and let himself in.More
Cessation of An Beachaire – The Irish Beekeeper Magazine
It is with sadness that I share the news that FIBKA (the Federation of Irish Beekeeper’s Associations) have taken the decision to discontinue the publication of an Beachaire – The Irish Beekeeper Magazine. It will be a great loss to beekeepers around the country, especially beginners and our large cohort of elderly beekeepers. As a …More
Benefits of Beeswax Candles
One of the many benefits of burning beeswax candles is its ability to calm us and soothe our mood. The light that a burning beeswax candle emits is very similar to natural sunlight. This has an uplifting and calming effect on our mood. Many also find it helps with concentration, energy and spiritualism.More
Queen Supersedure in Honeybee colonies
Honeybee queen supersedure is a recurring and inexhaustible topic for discussion among beekeepers. It is something we will all experience at some point in our beekeeping adventures. At the same time, supersedure is something that we seem to know remarkable little about. In this article I will try to shed some light on queen supersedure and what causes it.More