Welcome again to our new site.  And before we say anything else……. Thank you so much Mel Howes for all your hard and inspired work in setting up our new website.

We intend to blog updates here as we find interesting things to observe and comment on concerning bees and beekeeping.

We thought we were great this spring when we did an artificial swarm once we found a lovely charged queen cell.  Checking progress later on the parent stand we found 7 more lovely queen cells developing along with a marked clipped queen just ready to swarm out.  We should have checked the parent stand for queen cells 4 days after the artificial swarm.  This lesson is hard to pick up from the books.  Chatting with a more experienced local beekeeper in our Association put us right on this issue.

Some lessons have to be learnt the hard way, this year showed that it is vital to manage hives with routine inspections and a marked and clipped queen even if the weather is contrary.

Once the good weather in March gave way to the cold of April we found it difficult to do what was needed on a number of colonies.  These were the hives that produced swarms that had to be dealt with on the pet days we could have been doing other things.  It was frustrating and so avoidable.

 Turn and Mark Cage- excuse the dirty thumbs

QueenMarking Tools available from Mill Lane Beekeeping

Marking and clipping is best done on nucleus hives immediately the queen starts to lay.  Choose good days between St Patrick’s Day and the middle of April at the warmest part of the day.  Seasoned beekeepers can mark and clip with the minimum of fuss but it takes practice.  Eamon Tubman our chairman introduced us to the Turn and Mark Cage at a beginner’s session in the Digges District Association Apiary this year.  It uses a plunger to guide the queen down the tube for marking and the plunger can then be twisted to turn out a wing for safe clipping. Have what you need to hand in advance because once you find the queen you will need to keep an eye on her, you won’t be able to rummage around the toolbox.  Included above are a few items that should be included in your queen marking kit.

Gormanstown was last week and was a great week.  Wall to wall lectures, workshops, a honey show and a forum for all levels of beekeeping in Ireland.  If you got a chance attend for the day to see what was going on you would not be have been disappointed.  More on that later.

Our local Association, Digges District is also having their first Honey Show as part of the Mohill Agricultural Show on the 19th August, neighbouring Associations are welcome to exhibit and help make the occasion a success.

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