Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



New course launched for would-be beekeepers

Anne Wilson demonstrates the preparation of a crate of sections at Dromore Beekeepers. Section honey is now in great demand.DROMORE Beekeepers Association is organising a course for people wishing to take up the ancient craft.

It is designed for those who have yet to acquire bees and those who already have them but need to learn the skills necessary to manage them.

A spokesperson said a generation ago beekeepers followed the family tradition and inherited both the bees and skills required. Today, he added, most newcomers have no family association with bees and require tuition and mentoring.

"Gardens are now much smaller and some beekeepers require an alternative place to site their apiary," he added.

"Spring and early summer are ideal times to acquire bees but it is necessary to have some training before that."

The course will commence on January 12 and last for eight weeks.

Once the active bee season begins in April there will be two practical sessions in an apiary when students will learn how to handle bees, observe what is happening in the hive and also recognise swarming preparations and disease.

They will be prepared for the Preliminary Examination of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations and may be assessed in late May.

"The arrival of the parasitic mite Varroa and its associated viruses, a few years ago, made beekeeping a little more difficult, thus the importance of attending a course and joining a Beekeepers' Association at the outset," continued the spokesperson.

"Working at an open hive demands your undivided attention and concentration and so provides respite from all other problems, a most therapeutic experience. Newcomers to beekeeping, both men and women, come at all ages. Some come when they have their first permanent home, some when their family disperse and some when approaching retirement or early retirement."

The Dromore course will be led by Norman Walsh. Further information including the cost and enrolment details can be obtained by telephoning Norman on 9268 2578 or e-mailing:

Ulster Star