MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN – February 2002.

What could well be described as the first swarm of 2002 descended on the Band Room, Cahir on 27th. January 2002 for the 10th. A.G.M. of Galtee Bee Breeding Group. The Chairman in his opening remarks traced the development of GBBG from its inaugural meeting in December 1991 when the first four founding members came together, to its present strength of more than forty committed members.

The attendance of 29 at the A.G.M. OF 2001 and apologies received from six other members who could not be present was indicative of the enthusiastic support and pride in the work of the group. The camaraderie and good fellowship which blossomed during the break for a cup of tea was evidence of the friendship and mutual respect which has developed among members of this group over the years. As one member was heard to remark there was a buzz of enthusiasm as of a honeybee colony awakening in Spring after a Winter of inactivity.

The Chairman welcomed especially the officers of F.I.B.K.A. including the President, David Lee, the Secretary, Michael Gleeson, and the Life Vice-President, Michael Woulfe. He welcomed the members from near and far and particular those who had travelled long distances from counties Meath, Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Offaly, Kerry and Cork. He described the work of the group over the past ten years and the resultant improvement in members’ bees, which is becoming quite apparent from the annual returns of colony appraisals. He emphasised the benefit to the group of the funding received from the Department of Agriculture under the Scheme for the Conservation of Genetic Resources. Without such funding the ambitious work programmes of GBBG could not be accomplished. He thanked all the members who had taken on special responsibilities and who had played such active roles in the group’s many projects.

The Secretary, Dennis Ryan read a comprehensive report on the many and varied activities of the group during the past year. The Treasurer, Redmond Williams gave a clear cut account on income and expenditure for the year 2001.

Jacob Kahn gave a short talk, explaining the working of the wing analyser for morphometric measurement of bees wings, which had been developed for the group by a final year student at C.I.T.

Jacob is prepared to assist any GBBG member in the use of the computer version of the wing analyser to measure their wing samples.

Jacob should be contacted for the necessary information and directions on it’s use.

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Description of wing morphometry using computer software to scan the win

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Redmond brought along twelve videos on bee improvement, which he had spent recent weeks editing from material which he has recorded during demonstrations and trips abroad over the past two years. Recording and editing are very time consuming procedures, but now since he has got a new camcorder and editing equipment as a result of recent funding, he has promised to produce many more videos both for GBBG and FIBKA also. James Power displayed a very neat collection of members’ colony appraisals in tabular form. He is very anxious to get in the colony appraisals from other members. He is also working on the development of a “Stud Book” for the information of group members. Ruary Rudd showed an example of a Varroa handbook, which he had produced, from material downloaded from the New Zealand beekeepers’ website. This could prove a most beneficial source of information for our members who are likewise coming to grips with Varroa for the first time. Anybody who is interested should e-mail Ruary for particulars.

The A.G.M. concluded with a high level discussion on Varroa. The important message, which emerged for members, is to keep it simple. Follow the suggested steps contained in the GBBG policy document for detection and treatment. Bayvarol is the only chemical treatment approved for this country . It is safe, cheap, and very effective, giving a 98% kill of mites. In the early years a second treatment may be necessary in Spring to combat reinfestation from untreated colonies. Members should monitor their colonies on a regular basis to ascertain the level of infestation. Mite levels can be kept down during the Summer season by the use of open mesh floors and regular destruction of drone comb inserts used for mite trapping. Advantage will be taken of our Summer demonstrations to familiarise members with these simple manipulations.

 

(Text by Micheál Mac Giolla Coda, Chairman GBBG)