Two Seasons Compared

The Kerry Experience

In 2000/2001, the Kerry Association decided to compare the honey crop from various parts of the County, and I fitted a scale hive under one of my colonies as part of the exercise. The weight gains from five areas of the county were broadcast each week on Radio Kerry. This year the experiment continued.

My apiary is in the orchard at the rear of the garden and so I am able to read the weights daily. The house is situated beside the coast and about two fifths of the theoretical forage area consists of ocean. The available forage includes, Sally, Sycamore, Horse-chestnut, fruit (Apple), various weeds e.g. Dandelion, Charlock etc., pasture plants such as clover (white and red), Blackberry, Fuchsia hedges, some Heathers including a small proportion of Ling, and for winter supplies Ivy. This year there was an abundance of Knapweed, thistles and Rose Bay Willowherb.

The graph shows the comparison of the weight increase for each year.cumwg

The 2001 weights started being recorded on the 20th May and showed no weight increase until the 11th June and at the 22nd June 2000 the actual hive weight was the same as on the 9th May 2000. That is to say that the bees seemed to be month behind. This was because, in spite of the heat, rainfall was very low and the plants were secreting no nectar. It needed a period of rain the get the nectar flowing and then the weights increased to give a higher total gain for the year.

In 2000 the period of maximum flow was from the 7th to the 24th July, while in 2001, with the exception of one day when there was a gain of 9½ Kilograms, the flow was more evenly spread.

Of course, it must be realised that the increases in weight is not the honey crop as it includes brood, wax production, changes in moisture content of the timber. Also that raw nectar is about 97% water which has to be evaporated off by the bees to turn it into honey.

Ruary Rudd



Co. Dublin Honey Show

The Dublin Beekeeper’s association will hold its Honey Show on Sat 4th Nov, in Christ Church Hall in Rathgar at 10.30. Entries from Beekeepers across the country and stiff competition have made this event a favourite for Dubliners and visitors from around the country in recent years. 

Entries are now being registered online at Alternatively you can print an entry and post it to the address on the entry form

Co. Mayo BKA Honey Show!

Co. Mayo BKA will be holding their annual honey show on Monday the 23rd of October in the Community Centre, Dromore West, Co Sligo. This event is starting at 5pm and honey needs to be entered before 4.30pm.

The highlight of the show will be an in-depth talk by world-renowned beekeeper, Mark L Winston, who will share insights from his seminal work, "Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive" and world renowned expert on heather honey and Mead, Michael Badger MBE, will be the Chief Honey judge and will also give a presentation on heather honey. The talk will start from 6pm and will be free!

Looking for honey labels and FIBKA lids?

For anyone looking to get the FIBKA jar lids or tamper proof labels for your honey, we have put together the following guidelines in how to apply for them. The document can be downloaded here

Hedge cutting

If you wish to report hedge cutting out of season
Contact the people below
National Parks & Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2
For General Queries:
Tel: +353-1-888 3242
LoCall 1890 383 000 (within Republic of Ireland only - rates charged for the use of 1890 numbers may vary among different service providers)
Fax: +353-1-888 3272

Disease Sampling Form

Teagasc offers a Honeybee disease diagnostic service to beekeepers, more information available here

Bee Research Project!

FIBKA are co operating with CIT to run a beehealth project to improve the genetic diversity of Irish honey bee stocks, funding needed either corporate or individual. Click here for more info!

All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Great news! - The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 is released this week. Click here for more info!

Got something to say!?

We are looking for people to submit articles on beekeeping or anything related to it, on a once off or a regular basis. If you think you could put pen to paper, then please email the Beachaire Manager, Dermot O'Flaherty at