We can all do our bit to keep bee population sweet
You might not realise it, but we are currently in peak bee season, and there is something we can all do to help keep the bee population fit and healthy!
Local beekeeper Declan Monaghan has his very own apiary (bee colony) in his back garden in Collon and is gearing up for the highlight of the bee calendar in August, the annual Beekeeping Summer Course at the Franciscan College, Gormanston, Co Meath from Sunday 12th to Friday 17th of August 2018.
"'The actual numbers of bees peak at the end of May, and we have to have all the foraging bees out by June 1st if we all want to have honey,' says Declan, who has eight to ten hives with his wife Anne. 'We have around 50,000 bees in each hive, and when you think we start off in spring with just 10,000, you can see how busy the queen is!'
Declan and Anne recently introduced a young family friend, Shannon Cooney from Maple Drive, to the art of beekeeping, and she was a quick learner!
'I got her a little bee keeping suit of her own, and really enjoyed learning all about the worker bees and drones and even spotted the queen!' Says Declan.
'She wanted to know if the Queen was the Mammy of all the bees, who was the Daddy, and she was surprised when I told her, she has thousands of boyfriends.'
The term busy as a bee isn't used for nothing - one bee has to collect pollen from 10,000 flowers to make one teaspoon of honey. "One bee will never make one jar of honey in its lifetime," he explains. "The population is quite strong at the moment, but we can all help by planting sycamore trees, and don't get rid of weeds like dandelions."
Declan runs novice beekeeping courses, starting every February, at the Market House in Dunleer, but if you would like a taster, the 72nd Beekeeping Summer Course is on at the Franciscan College, Gormanston, Co Meath from Sunday 12th to Friday 17th of August 2018. Visit www.louthbeekeeping.com.