UK & Ireland

Anything outside the US. Forum to be divided as needed.
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brothermoo
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Location: Northern Ireland

UK & Ireland

Postby brothermoo » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:40 am

Are there many people here from UK/Ireland that have gone treatment free? It would be nice to learn from your experiences regarding our unique weather situation, the lack of small cell foundation available, what equipment you are using, and local genetics.

I am using Rose hives after reading Tim Rowe's book before getting my first bees.. Worked out well as it is quite similar to using all langstroth mediums. Have made a number of 5 frame nucs with separate floors so they can be stacked and even a double nuc base a la Mike palmer. However I am going to make some 6 frame nucs that can be stacked on a divided standard OSB (after going narrow frame this is now possible). I like the national footprint for ease of getting roofs in the winter sales and to not be too far away from most beeks that they are afraid to work with you!

I have been involved with a local queen rearing group in Belfast but would like to be at a critical mass of my own bees to be able to select my own survivors to breed from.

Cheers ..moo

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trekmate
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Location: UK, NW England
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Re: UK & Ireland

Postby trekmate » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:34 pm

Hi Moo
I'm not quite treatment free yet, but close (one hive out of eight had a sugar dusting to knock back Varroa). I live in the far west of North Yorkshire (close to Lancashire) and the weather is my biggest challenge by far. My bees are dark local mongrels, most of them descendants of a feral colony in a roof not far from here. The ones I opted to treat this year are lighter in colour....
I know of a few in England that are treatment free for a few years. All of the ones I know use mostly top-bar hives with a few Nationals with foundationless frames (half-inch strip of foundation at the top of the frame as a guide) which lets the bees regress their cell size in their own time. If you check out the Natural Beekeeping (Biobees) forum you'll find them there.
Cheers!

John

Imker Ingo
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Location: Newport, Wales, UK

Re: UK & Ireland

Postby Imker Ingo » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:53 pm

Hi Moo and John.
John recognise you from Biobees. I have gone treatment free this season, started with two Nationals last year and a third this year from a split. I am trying out some top bars in the supers and the bees have built natural comb. I have not taken any honey as the season was so variable weather wise. Unfortunately a large prime swarm did not stay in my TBH, they had already earmarked a better home elsewhere.Two small cast swarms failed, I think the queens were not mated or did not return from their mating flights as one colony had three laying workers. I hope to have better luck next year.

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hsilgnede_bee
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Location: West of Ireland

Re: UK & Ireland

Postby hsilgnede_bee » Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:38 pm

I am in the west of Ireland. I will be getting started next spring. Going top bar, two hives to start and see how I go. Plan is to go treatment free. I am hoping to use native Irish black bees but if not I'll try to catch a swarm.

Cannot express how excited I am to get going.

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hsilgnede_bee
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Re: UK & Ireland

Postby hsilgnede_bee » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:00 pm

I had a beekeeper tell me previously that she had been advised to use Oxcylic acid but not to tell the Food Safety Regulator about it which bowled me over a bit.

I found out today that Formic and Oxcylic acid are not approved for use in Ireland. This clearly is why she was told not to inform the food safety people.

http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingse ... pinghoney/

Bayvarol & Apigaurd are the only approved treatments in Ireland. The document referenced above goes on to talk about how to treat and when and goes into a lot of detail about the lifecycle of various parasites. Its actually worth a read just from that point of view, know your enemy and all that, even if you're not going to treat.

On Bayvarol: "This product has >95% efficiency, however, the varroa mite like most mites will develop
resistance to the pesticide. This occurs because individual mites differ in their susceptibility to a given substance. If a population of mites is exposed to a varroacide dose that only kills the more susceptible ones, the resistant mites will survive and reproduce and thus overtime develop a resistant population. This process of resistance is accelerated by the fact that acaracides are lipophyllic, and thus mites are continuously
being exposed to non-lethal doses of the chemical in the wax. Misuse of strips also encourages resistance."

What I find interesting about that is that the official documentation issued by the department acknowledges that the product doesn't work and then goes on to talk at length about why and how you should use it. It also goes into detail about how to use the products that are not legal!

I wonder why "officialdom" doesn't get the message and in particular why the lower end backyard/sideline guys don't get on board with the idea that treating is breeding stronger mites. A lot of the forums I see on facebook which are Ireland focused are basically treating discussion forums. There seems to be little or no interest in any alternative approach.

Anyway that was a bit of a long winded rant. The document is worth a look, its best part of 10 years old now but the lifecycle of the mites won't have changed radically.

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brothermoo
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Location: Northern Ireland

Re: UK & Ireland

Postby brothermoo » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:33 pm

It's really annoying when trying to glean nuggets of knowledge or wisdom from beekeepers here in Ireland about our locale and all they want to talk about is 'varroa keeping' ...much more useful would be how to read weather patterns regarding nectar flows or that sort of thing!


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hsilgnede_bee
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Re: UK & Ireland

Postby hsilgnede_bee » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:38 pm

Yea, definitely seems to be a bit of a focus on the negative.

I'm starting my beginners course on Saturday, runs for three Saturdays so should hopefully pick up a few good tips.

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brothermoo
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Re: UK & Ireland

Postby brothermoo » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:27 pm

hsilgnede_bee wrote:I'm starting my beginners course on Saturday, runs for three Saturdays so should hopefully pick up a few good tips.


I'm sure, thanks to the internet, you are already well versed in all things bee theory... It will be the hands-on experiences you get with local beeks that will be invaluable! Find an experienced beekeeper that is reasonably like-minded (as far as trying to keep bees in a more natural manner) who can let you look over their shoulder.


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hsilgnede_bee
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Re: UK & Ireland

Postby hsilgnede_bee » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:04 pm

Upside:

So the first day of the course was good. Got good info on the beekeeping calendar, what flowers when etc, and a realistic estimate of the amount of time that will be required in terms of inspections and so on. Also got a great lead on where to put hives. Apparently there's a deal between the Irish State Forestry Agency (Coillte) and the Beekeepers federation which allows to place hives on their land, so that's good.

Also, I have to add that the course is really great value for money. Its €90 for a three day course and that includes subscription to the association magazine, membership and third party insurance for the year. And there's even a few free cups of tea on the go as well so can't argue with that. :D

Both of them are working with the native black bee which is good news. It sounds like that's more common than I thought it was. Lots of information on swarm control. They reckon thats the thing that new beeks struggle most with. They are nice guys as well and very experienced.

Downside:

I'm slightly regretting my decision to go with top bars. The course is all about the National hive. The guys giving it are traditionalists, they admit that themselves and are not ashamed of it, nor should they be. They recommended getting two nationals and learning on them and then going off to other types of hive afterwards if we want to experiment. The point they are making that is valid is that Nucs all come on frames for national hives and if you ain't got a national hive, you're gonna struggle to get bees. I knew that when I got the hives, just that its a bit more real now and I know I've made life a little harder for myself than I needed to. I'm still committed to the top bars though.

Also, they are all about treating. They view it as disease control. There are, apparently, no surviving wild bees in Ireland and its not possible to keep them without treating. They give us the dates we need to treat, demonstrate how to do it and press home that it has to be done. They even send an SMS to all the members to remind them when its treating time. I get the feeling that they have had people through the course before that have refused to treat and probably have ended up with dead hives.

They acknowledge that the solution is for the bees to become resistant or learn to co-exist with Verroa, but they see that as being a hope and more likely on a 30-40 year timescale. They emphasized many times that beekeeping now is completely different to what it was 25 years ago before Verroa arrived in Ireland.

On the whole though, I really enjoyed the day and am looking forward very much to next Saturday. I need to get into a detailed conversation about what the practicalities are going to be for getting my bees. I have half an idea that maybe I'll get a national and in a year from now do shook swarms into the top bars. Lets wait and see.


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