This Report has been synthesised from the minutes of the 1995 AGM, recorded by Dennis Ryan

Place and time

Micheál’s house at Glengarra Wood at 7.30 p.m. on Friday the 26th January 1996.

Members in attendance

Micheál Mac Giolla Coda, Redmond Williams, Gerard O’Donoghue, David Lee, Michael Reidy and Dennis Ryan.

For the purpose of conducting the meeting, Micheál was appointed Chairman and Dennis was appointed Secretary and minute taker.

Chairman’s address

Micheál welcomed everybody… Especially the two new members Gerard O’Donoghue from Mallow and Dennis Ryan from Clonmel. He thanked those members who had offered to provide him with breeding material during the year when he lost his entire breeding apiary of 40 colonies due to Nosema and its associated viruses. He assumed that Cloudy Winged virus may have been one of the main culprits responsible for the actual deaths of so many colonies. The set back necessitated the transfer in early summer to the home apiary at Glengarra Wood of two complete out apiaries which had been requeened in 1994/95 from selected breeding stock. He said that the costly lesson to be learned from the near disaster was that Fumidil B should be in all queen rearing operations, and all equipment including mini nucs and that Jenter kits should be sterilised with Acetic acid.

The bee breeding programme has continued to progress during 1995 through selection and culling using colony records with the addition during the year of Instrumental Insemination. He said that Redmond had inseminated twenty selected breeder queens, representing a wide variety of line combinations. A total of 45 queens had been inseminated during the 1995 season and it is hoped that at least 30 of these will survive the winter so that the behaviour of their progeny can be fully evaluated and recorded over the course of a full season as they head production colonies for the duration of 1996.

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taken from a front page picture in the Irish Times, Saturday Jan 6th 1976 Micheál then congratulated the two groups of young scientists from Clonmel and Portarlington on their successes with their bee morphometry projects which were entered in the Clonmel Junior Chamber competition and the Aer Lingus Young Scientists competition respectively. He said that morphometry is one of the corner stones of any breeding programme and one very important fact to emerge from the Aer Lingus programme was that of the 17 areas surveyed throughout Ireland, the bees of South Tipperary were found to be the purest. He said that was probably due to the activities of the Galtee Bee Breeding Group and the selection and improvement work already done in the area. He hoped that follow-up projects might be undertaken in the future in which the morphometry records could be linked with behaviour characteristics of the bee.

Educational achievements

Members who had passed examinations during the year were congratulated:-

Gerard – Intermediate and Redmond – BBKA Associate Honey Judge. Also Redmond and Micheál were conferred with the NCEA Certificate in Science (Apiculture) at Cork Regional Technical College during December.

Concluding his address Micheál wished the Cahir study group, which was to a great extent instrumental in achieving these results, continued success for the year 1996.

Items on the Agenda.

Item 1. Colony Appraisals.

Each member was requested to supply a total ratings list for all colonies from the highest score to the lowest score as well as the individual rating for each of the five behaviour characteristics which have been chosen for evaluation. The latter average figure can be obtained by adding up the rating given at each inspection (maximum score of 5) and dividing this total by the number of inspections carried out through the year. Some members did not have their colony records analysed prior to the meeting and said they would forward them to Micheál at a later date. Such information is essential for the selection and culling of stocks. All members should have field notebooks which would provide the assessment data for comparison purposes at the end of the year. The best colonies from each member can then be used to provide breeding material. Samples of bees from the top 20% of colonies can then be assessed for cubital index and discoidal shift.

Item 2. Standardisation and Assessments.

There is need for all the members of the group to standardise their methods of assessing colonies on the five behaviour characteristics. It was hoped to achieve this by organising open hive demonstrations and manipulations during which colonies would be evaluated and recorded later in the year.

Item 3. Allocation of functions to group members.

Chairman:

Micheál Mac Giolla Coda

Secretary:

Dennis Ryan

Newsletter Editor:

Micheál Mac Giolla Coda

Hive Records Controller:

Gerard O’Donoghue

Instrumental Insemination:

Redmond Williams

Microscopy and Disease Officer:

Redmond Williams

Meetings Convener:

Dennis Ryan

Registrar of Apiary Locations:

David Lee

Morphometry Evaluation and Records:

Micheál Mac Giolla Coda

It was decided to hold two meetings during the year – one in which open hives would be evaluated and another for a morphometry workshop which might also include some anatomy and dissection.

Item 4: Review of Original Rules.

Having agreed on the six group membership rules the meeting then discussed the drawing up of a set of breeding rules. The rules as set out by the German Beekeepers’ Association (1985) were adopted since they are generally regarded as the leaders in this area of bee breeding. It was decided that the method of queen rearing to be adopted should be the “York Method” as set out by Tom Robinson in the BIBBA publication, “The Bee Breeder” Issue No. 8. and using the timetable as illustrated.

Item 5. BIBBA Conference.

Members were informed of and encouraged to attend the BIBBA Conference with the theme, “Making the Most of What We’ve Got” which will be held next September at Kildalton College of Agriculture, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny. This will provide us with a wonderful opportunity to listen to some top class bee breeders from abroad. Moreover since it was mainly due to the activities of GBBG that it was decided to hold the conference in Ireland, we have a responsibility to make the visitors feel at home and facilitate the conference in every way possible.

Item 6: Varroa Update.

The longer we can remain free of this parasite the better we can benefit from the ongoing research being carried out in other countries. Many viruses are now found to be associated with this problem, the effects of which are rapid colony breakdown, invasion by wasps and waxmoths and absconding of the bees leading to reinfestation of other colonies which have already been treated.

The meeting concluded at 11.00 p.m., no date was fixed for the next meeting.