Class of High School pupils first to pay visit to apiary

A CLASS of Dromore High School pupils recently became the first to visit Dromore Beekeepers’ Association’s Tullyhenan Fort Apiary, where they were welcomed by the association’s chairman Liam Murtagh and press officer Norman Walsh.

The High School’s Year 11 Horticulture Class was accompanied by teacher, Mrs Jill Nelson, and technician Miss Gillian McMurran.

Said Norman, “Before going near the bees the visitors donned the new white, one-piece bee suits purchased with money from the Big Lottery Fund, ‘Awards for All’ Northern Ireland.

“Dromore High School supported the bid for funding and this was the first occasion on which it got practical benefit. The protective clothing enabled the staff and pupils to handle live bees.

“Liam told the party that the apiary is situated in an ancient ring-fort, where early farmers would have lived and kept their livestock for safety. This stock would have included honeybees of the native black strain which today Dromore beekeepers are propagating on the same spot. “After a short discussion about the various castes of bees and their life history, a hive was opened and frames of bees, brood and honey, were handed round.”

Liam and Norman next answered pupils’ many questions.

“There was great excitement,” added Norman, ”when the queen bee was spotted; she was marked with a white spot on her thorax.”