The aims and objectives of the Galtee Bee Breeding Group were set out at a meeting of local beekeepers at Glengarra Wood on Monday 30th December 1991.
The groups aims include the study, conservation, and improvement of the native strains of the Dark European Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera L.)
The above is the basic ‘mission statement’ of the Galtee Bee Breeding Group… How do we achieve these intended ideals?
In three words… Record, Select & Cull. But in more detail…
- Record Keeping [A method devised by Micheál Mac Giolla Coda for assessing the worth of a queen, with a view to propagate from her (or not) as the case may be.]
- Recognition of Good Traits [education, study and research]
- Selection of Criteria [the factors deemed to be important]
- Identification of Desired Traits in Colonies [from records and experience in handling, colony appraisals]
- Establishing Racial Purity [morphometry and DNA]
- Breeding From the Best Stocks [queen and drone production, mating apiaries]
- Re-Queening Stocks with Better Queens [introduction]
- Culling the Bad All of the positive factors above are of no use unless we consciously and ruthlessly remove the queens of colonies that display characteristics that we consider bad or less than desirable.
Originally confined to the Galtee/Vee Valley, the operation has gradually expanded so that the breeding zone has been extended westward to include the valleys of the Funchion and the Upper Blackwater between the Nagle and Ballyhoura Mountains as far as Mallow; and eastward along the Suir valley as far as the river Anner and the valley between Slievenamon and the Comeragh Mountains.
It is hoped to extend the demarcation line as far as Waterford harbour to the east, and from Mallow westward through Killarney to Killorglin and Castlemain harbour.
Any beekeeper in the area outlined is welcome to apply for membership of the group, to take part in the very worthwhile work being undertaken and to help in the programme of evaluation and selection.