Joy O' Driscoll: Bee Keeping
Firstly I got into the bees by accident, a friend of mine who is a farmer in Ovens mentioned that he had a bee hive in his orchard which he felt was abandoned by its owner and asked me if I would like to take it over as he knew that I was very interested in growing my own veg, as a chef cooking homecooked food for my family etc. So I contacted the local bee association who put me in touch with Eddie O’ Sullivan and he in turn came out, and there it started. Bought all the equipment and an established beehive and then a nuk (baby bee hive) and now I have four hives. Con who came on board as well had two hives which he had in his back garden, but whenever his wife went out into the back garden was not welcomed by the bees, so they had to be moved to Ovens with my own, and since then we have moved them to the present location which is in Cloghroe.
Five top tips for beekeeping
- Contact your local Beekeepers Association, which will give you all the help that you need regarding beekeeping itself. They give classes every year from beginners to the experienced and from the Springtime give outdoor demonstrations as well. By getting membership from the association you are insured if any one gets stung. Also I would like to add that the Cork Beekeepers Association was 100 years old in 2001 and is the oldest in the country.
- Beekeeping is a commitment and it is for the long term, it is hard work but very rewarding and is a great hobby. Also without the bees a lot of vegetables and fruit would not get pollinated.
- Siting the apiary is very important, as it needs to be away from people, traffic etc as they are not sociable creatures, they are there to do a job, look after the queen and bring in food for the nursery and themselves.
- Have the proper equipment, tools, full suit, and a good smoker is essential.
- Buy your bees from people in the association as you will be guaranteed that they will be healthy and well looked after.