Galtee Bee Breeding Group — Annual Report – 2009 for year 2008.

Disappointing Year

Similar to 2007 the year 2008 was rather disappointing for the majority of Irish beekeepers. The poor weather of spring and summer was not conducive to high yields of honey and queen mating suffered severely also. However there appears to have been a wide variation of results through the country and many beekeepers especially in the southern regions were quite pleased with their honey yields. Let us hope that 2009 will follow the pattern of most of the years that ended in nine during the twentieth century. After two mediocre seasons we really would appreciate a good fine summer and no doubt our poor bees would appreciate it even more so.

GBBG Activities

The two workdays at Dun Aonghusa were quite successful not because of the numbers who attended but on account of the amount of work that was accomplished by the small but dedicated band of workers who turned out. Some members even came on both days but as usual the majority did not appear at all. Indeed it seems to be the same faithful few that turn out year in year out to do this essential maintenance work of spring cleaning the bee garden and treatment of hives, mating nuclei and buildings.

The Dun Aonghusa workshop was an outstanding success. All credit to those members who volunteered to do the various demonstrations on different aspects of queen rearing. We shared our experience and knowledge with beekeepers from Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Leitrim and Fingal. These workshops form a method of carrying the message of GBBG in the best possible way. We also had a very pleasant and educational workshop at the apiary of Gay Noonan at Well Hill near Golden. Many thanks to Gay and her husband Michael for placing the apiary at our disposal and for their hospitality including tea and cakes in their new honey house and a most enjoyable afternoon in the pleasant surroundings of their lovely garden listening to Bridie Power’s many renditions on her harmonica.

Our members took part in workshops at Gormanston and attended the AGM of BIBBA as well as the BIBBA Conference where Dennis Ryan and Mervyn Eddie delivered lectures. Dennis also lectured at the Gormanston Conference as well as the London Honey Show. Our annual garden walk was an event to remember also even though the attendance again fell far short of expectations. Our sincere thanks to Mary Keenan for a most enjoyable afternoon in her wonderful four-acre garden.

Morphometry Survey

At the end of the second year of the survey we have succeeded in collecting and mounting a total of 168 samples. This is falling far short of our expectations as we thought at this stage we would have at least 500-600 samples mounted and processed. It means that ALL our members must make an all out effort to collect samples from as many apiaries as possible during 2009. Our thanks to all who have supplied samples to date and especially to Jacob Kahn for his help and advice and to Padraig Whelan for co-ordinating the wing-mounting.

All Ireland Conservation Area

Due to the dangers involved in importing bees and/or queens it would be most appropriate if the Departments of Agriculture in Northern Ireland and R.O.I. agreed to place a permanent ban on importing bees into the island of Ireland. Among the countries of the European Union this island is in a unique position in that we are completely surrounded by water and even more importantly that here we have the best surviving population of Dark European Honeybees in the whole of Europe. Let us hope that the powers that be will see their way to exploiting this unique asset in beekeeping.

Congratulations

Congratulations to Dennis on his election to President of FIBKA and to Irene on being selected as Honey Queen. Congratulations to our members who won many awards at honey shows including the Irish and British National Honey Shows. Congratulations also to those who passed the various examinations of FIBKA at provincial level and in Gormanston especially to Thomas who passed his Lecturer’s examination.

Thank You

Sincere thanks to my fellow officers, the members of the steering committee and those group members who helped in any way during 2008 to forward the aims and objectives ofGBBG.

Micheál Mac Giolla Coda – Chairman.