Galtee Bee Breeding Group AGM of year 2008

The 2009 A.G.M. of the G.B.B.G. was held in the Band Room Cahir, Co. Tipperary on Sunday 31st January 2009, with a starting time of 2.00 pm.


There was such a lengthy agenda for the GBBG AGM that we got down to business straight away. The band room in Cahir was the venue, a facility sourced for the purpose many years past by Redmond Williams and Micheál Mac Giolla Coda thanked Redmond for this in his opening address.

The hall was full to capacity with all the provinces being well represented and the full complement of officers presided, Micheál himself chairperson, Michael Maunsell secretary and Gay Noonan treasurer plus of course the many committee members.

Micheál welcomed one and all and in particular our Ulster beekeeping friends with Mervyn Eddie, president of UBKA, and Norman Walsh OBE, lecturer and honey judge amongst the contingent. He then especially welcomed the president of FIBKA Dennis Ryan and the national secretary Michael Gleeson. Apologies from many were noted and votes of sympathy cast and a moments silence observed for the late Catherine Ryan of Thurles, R.I.P. (mother of Jim) and the late Michael Moynihan of Waterford R.I.P.

Michael Maunsell gave a most comprehensive account in the minutes of last years AGM and likewise the treasurer Gay Noonan in her record of the financial year past. Both accounts were proposed and adopted. We then spoke about a letter circulated on the net to all of us from Minister Trevor Sergeant referring to grants available towards horticulture including bees. The department are disappointed it seems at the poor up-take of the grants by beekeepers. Anyone interested should know that the closing date for applications is the 19th of February 2010. One can apply as an individual or as part of a group and forms are available from Teagasc.

Then all the annual reports were delivered. Mervyn Eddie gave an update of colony losses in the North, Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda discussed the new look four seasons GBBG magazine, Jim power presented the colony appraisals, Dave Cushman sent his account of the website and informed us that unfortunately due to his failing health he would be stepping down from his post as web-site manager. And what a truly excellent expert website it is and thank you so much Dave for it and your continuing support will be truly valued.

Micheál then reported on the Bee-Garden with fulsome praise for the wonderful work of our gardener, Elizabeth o Brien, work very much appreciated by all indeed. He also thanked Redmond our video and cd impresario for compiling a wealth of data for posterity and Jim Power for looking after the collection so carefully. He concluded that all of the reports were testimony to the great work of those who compiled them. The president Dennis Ryan took the chair during the election of officers. The only changes in officerships are the posts of website manager and treasurer. The latter has now passed from one very capable pair of hands to another, those of Mike Geery and Gay was complimented for her work and efficiency in that position of treasurer down through the years. Dennis then congratulated all on their re-election to office and paid tribute to all concerned in the promotion of the beautiful dark bee both nationally and abroad and praised the GBBG travelling workshop for their work in promoting good queen rearing practices. He finished by saying that it is indeed fitting that this year’s BIBBA conference is being held in Kilcoran Lodge Hotel , Cahir, Co Tipperary on the 3rd 4th and 5th of September 2010.

Then Michael Gleeson addressed the gathering. He also extended congratulations to those of us who took part in all of the FIBKA activities during the year in an effort to promote beekeeping, events such as Bloom in the Park, the National Ploughing Championship and the London Honey Show to name but three of the long list he itemised. He showed us the new silver trophy sponsored by FIBKA that is destined for the London Honey Show as the top prize for class 13, Two Jars Dark Honey. He hoped an Irish name would be the first engraved on the trophy! He has compiled a booklist in fact of all the Irish winners at the show since 1929, over 1008 awards in that time!, with two beekeepers winning the prestigious world cup trophy twice, Redmond and Norman. He presented a copy of the booklist to Redmond, Norman, Dennis and Micheál. He then reminded us of the upcoming visit of Scottish beekeeper Willie Robson, a commercial beekeeper of approximately 2000 hives-who will talk to us on his life’s work with bees. The venues for the talks are in Navan, Tulamore, Thurles ad Mayo. He also reminded us of the beekeeping seminars in Limerick and Donegal, (details of all in the Beachaire).n He then appealed for information on colony losses around the country for Dr.Mary Coffey’s research. Mary of course is working flat out trying to find ways in which we can stay ahead of Varrososis, her research programme is so essential and government have finally recognised it as such thankfully and are most anxious that she continue, though, as yet, the Animal Health and Welfare Bill has not yet been completed.

After tea and refreshments, much chatting and conviviality, Emma Williams addressed us. Emma has also been beavering away in the background sorting out all of our bee samples and mounting their wings for morphological analyses. To date she has 645 samples mounted and analysis of 171 of them completed-a marvelous achievement considering each wing sample takes about two hours to complete! So far she told us that the purity of the strains is ranging from a low of 4 bees at 0%-9% and a high of 18 bees at 91% -100% with the rest at varying counts in between. All present truly appreciated the hard work Emma is about and complimented her on it.

Next Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda gave a very fine account to us of scale hives and the data that they give us under various climatic conditions. He demonstrated quite clearly how tough our own native Mellifera Mellifera bee is in comparison to others especially in adverse weather conditions, being able to conserve stores when required to do so and to take quick advantage of a flow, however short, when one comes along. Long range forecasters predict he said that wet places will get wetter and so we are really lucky that our native bee seems to be able to cope and have adapted well to the conditions and the excellent data he showed us proved that.

The marathon meeting then drew to a close but no one was exhausted however. All agreed there wasn’t a dull moment throughout the day, surely unusual for an AGM. Well done Micheál for such excellent chairmanship and long may you grace that position. And long may Redmond continue to capture on camera the happy group that is the Galtee Bee Breeding Group.

Mary Ryan.