County Limerick Beekeepers' Association
Celebrating 60 years of organised beekeeping

Apiary Manager's Report 2016


We started the year with five colonies of bees, two of them were very weak but we nursed them along and they improved as the days and weeks went by. The weather for January into March was very mixed, wet and mild and little sunshine to cold and dry and a number of stormy days. This led into April with variable rainfall very cold and variable sunny spells.

In April some repairs were carried out at the apiary in Cooper Hill Farm i.e. covers on the open manholes and a general clean-up was completed by John Nolan, Michael Reilly and myself. On that day the afternoon was good so we inspected the hives and marked and clipped some of the Queens. In March we started feeding the bees Pollen and fondant especially the weaker colonies and this greatly strengthened them up. May was a God send for the bees with temperatures rising high above average. With little rain and lots of sunshine colonies built up very strongly with the good weather and the abundance of forage available at Cooper Hill. Supers were filling with honey.

Apiary Activities:

The beginner beekeepers studying for their exams had their first visit to the apiary on May 8th and again on the following Wednesday and Sunday where the weather was good and the bees were on their best behaviour. 18 beginners visited the apiary where they received tuition and got to practice the art of beekeeping by handling the bees. This was carried out under the supervision of me, Paul Brennan and Donal Cooper.

The 21st May the FIBKA beginner practical exam was held at the apiary where the beginners were examined by Gus and Donal. The weather on the day was a little mixed but was good for most part of the Exam and the day went off without any problems. Many thanks to Liam Arigan, Gus McCoy, Cathy & Donal Cooper for facilitating the exam on the day. Congratulations to all who sat the exams and successfully passed.

June this year started warm and sunny but changed quickly with lots of rainfall and little sunshine. It lived up to its reputation of the hungry month where bees were going through their stores extremely fast and some colonies were hungry and needed feeding. It was reported in some areas around the country bees died of starvation this year.

On May 21st the apiary hosted the FIBKA Intermediate Apiary Practical exam. Redmond Williams and Denis Ryan were the examiners on the day, where a number of beekeepers completed their exam. Again well done to all who sat their exams and successfully passed. This year the Queens for nucleus production were produced at the apiary, after assessing the apiary queens and queens with some committee members we decided to shared queens from our own apiaries with the association apiary for breeding and this created diversity among Queens for supplying Nucs to beginner beekeepers and the apiary’s. This further provided a saving in costs to the association.

In the early part of the year we lost one of the Colonies and again in August when one of the colonies developed Laying workers. This reduced our number of colonies to 3.

A total of 13 Nucs were produced in the apiary and 8 of these were sold to new beekeepers. The rest were kept in the apiary. Of the 5 nucleus 4 were united to create 2 strong colonies as 2 of the queens were not performing well enough, leaving 3 strong nucs. Because of nucleus production and a combination of poor weather and losing colonies our honey yield was small for 2016 however we produced a total of 61 jars of honey.


I entered 3 jars of medium Association Honey in the Confined Limerick and Clare Association Class at the Clonmel Honey Show and yes we won first prize.

Contributions and Purchases

Back in February the association hosted a visit from Ian and Ruth Homer as part of a FIBKA Lecture tour. On the night Irish Bee Supplies had a stand and they donated a voucher to the value of €100 to LBKA which was used to purchase wax foundation and some hive tools for the apiary. Again in April Paul O’ Sullivan had a stand at our monthly meeting and at the end of the night he donated to the Association a polystyrene Nucleus hive. Throughout the year various items were purchased for the apiary.

Planning for 2017

Currently we have 6 colonies of bees going in to the winter. All are strong and in good condition. They are all headed up with new queens from this year’s stock and have been bred from different sources; creating diversity within our apiary. Fingers crossed we will be inspecting 6 colonies in April 2017.

This year we received a new site for our apiary from Limerick Co. Council. This is on the site of the old College grounds here in Mungret. One of the difficulties with the current site is it is on a working farm and we have to go through the farm to access it and this carries various difficulties and considerations to access the bees. With the new site we have easy access and car parking facilities 100 meters from the apiary. I have been tasked with overseeing the setup of the apiary and moving the bees from Cooper hill farm over the winter. We have just recently received access to the site and works are soon to begin. These works include hedge trimming, site clearing, fencing the perimeter, making it safe for both the bees and the public that will use the area. We will need on site storage for the equipment and so-forth. Once all this is in place the bees can be moved and the new plan for the coming year can be put in place and worked on.

The Association apiary does not belong to any one person. It is the County Limerick Beekeepers Apiary. All paid up members have access to it and we want it visited by its members. So in 2017 it is planned that we may have fewer monthly meetings here in the clubhouse and run more practical beekeeping workshops for all our members at the apiary. These will take place throughout the beekeeping months with the first one possibly taking place in April. It will be beekeeping for beginners, intermediate to advanced or whatever you want to take away from the evening. A place for beekeeping of all ages and skills, to meet, have a chat to share and to learn. This apiary will be a place for educating all beekeepers and in time I see it becoming a centre of excellence in the education and training of the craft of beekeeping for our members.

Hopefully a schedule of dated for these workshops will be available early in the New Year and posted on the association website. So keep an eye on the site.


I would like to thank the following for all their help and work throughout the year.

The apiary committee:

Thanks to John Holton manager Cooper Hill Farm for the Apiary site and all his support during the year.

Thanks to our Chairman Gus McCoy, Liam Arrigan the Treasurer and our Secretaries Sinead Mortell & Liz Gabbett and all the committee members for their support and hard work throughout the year.


In summary we have come through an average year for beekeeping. We lost two colonies but we replaced them with nucleus +1. We now have 6 colonies. We supplied new beekeepers with bees. Got a crop of honey. The bees are strong and healthy going into the winter and we have a new apiary with ambitious plans for the New Year.

The end

Thank you