Beekeepers want new members

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DROMORE Beekeepers’ Association is to hold an open night at Dromore High School on Tuesday, June 21.

Getting underway at 7.30pm, the event will see experienced beekeepers manning a number of stations and describing or demonstrating various aspects of beekeeping.

According to the local association, similar informal meetings have proved popular over the past two years.

A spokesperson said, “Everyone will be welcome to come along, especially those who are considering taking up beekeeping.

“Norman Walsh, who has delivered Preliminary Beekeeping courses in Dromore for the past three years, will be happy to meet and note the names of those contemplating joining a class in January 2012.”

The spokesperson went on to urge beekeepers to go along to the local association’s meetings and compare notes with fellow beekeepers.

“Many bees are starving and will die unless they are fed right away,” he said. “April was an excellent month for bees and the sunshine and forage resulted in queens laying well and colonies expanding rapidly.

“This large amount of brood had a huge requirement for food and so most of the nectar coming in was used to feed the brood.

“In May, when normally the forage is good, the windy, wet and cold weather kept the bees in their hives. As a result the bees ate the stores to continue to feed the brood and they economised by reducing the laying of the queen.

“It is the workers that control the numbers of eggs laid. The queen can lay more than her body weight in eggs every day but this requires the workers to feed her generously.

“When food is scarce, they reduce the food to the queen, she reduces her laying or stops altogether and so the colony can survive longer with less brood to rear. Less brood means fewer bees being born and so fewer foragers to bring in the harvest in July.

“June is normally a lean month for bees as the trees and shrubs which bloomed in May are past and the blackberry and clover has not begun to yield. The term “June gap” will be obvious this year. This June, hives were depleted of stores by the bad weather in May and, apart from a couple of good days, the June weather has not been conducive to foraging.

“All beekeepers must check all their colonies; strong colonies on two brood chambers can be the worst affected due to the large amount of brood to feed. . . Do not let bees die. Come along to your local Beekeeping Association’s meetings and compare notes with fellow beekeepers.”