We are all being reminded every day to “save the bees” in some shape or form, but apart from planting a suitable bee garden, creating bee baths, and refraining from using chemicals, the only thing left is the nuclear option, farming our own bees! Realistically, this ain’t something the majority of us would even dream of, but the fact remains that the number of hives in general in existence throughout the world have declined by millions in the last few decades. (colonies-per-acre count are down 25 percent).
Maybe another great way to support the bees is to support our local beekeepers – you know the type, we think of them as being a bit eccentric, bit oddball, v-neck jumper wearing, hipster type at times!!.
It so happens I know my local beekeeper in that we enjoy a few Guinness together. Paddy is starting out and has begun setting up his own hive in the middle of Dublin City which is no mean feat. His reasons for setting it up are in no particular order flowers, honey, bee population, and mental health. The first three are obvious but the fourth didn’t occur to me but makes perfect sense. We could all do with a beehive!
He began with a starter kit from the guys at www.beesupplies.ie which came in kit form and Paddy put it together Ikea style. This starter kit included the beekeeper’s suit. Please check our front page for services search for Bee keeping suppliers near you.
This particular kit came without an Eke? WTF is an Eke I hear you say? An eke is an extender frame or shallow box that can be used to adapt hive boxes to deeper frames or to provide space for inclusion of contact feeders. OR in layman’s terms a simple spacer that goes over or under hive parts to give extra space – there is no standard height apparently – there are many uses for Ekes which I won’t go into here! This was supplied by https://www.donegalbees.ie/ – PLease check our
Now for the exciting part – The bees themselves were purchased from a beekeeper who has many hives across counties Wicklow, Wexford, and Kildare in Ireland. He arrived on-site with a nuc. (nucleus colonies – small honey bee colonies created from larger colonies) . Paddy has started with approx. 4-5000 bees at a cost of approx. 200 euros. These bees are called “Apis Mellifera Mellifera”, the native Irish honey bee, but it are infact the European black/dark honeybee.
They Bees are currently settling into their new home it isn’t without teething problems such as chalkbrood (more on that in the next chapter)
A meadow front garden is also in the making, along with curtailing edge trimming and the creation of bee hotels and bee baths. I hope to add to this story in the coming months and let you know how Paddy is getting on.
Books – Paddy started out with the The Bee Manual: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Bees (New Ed) Hardcover