Welcome to the County Louth Beekeepers Association (LBKA) website
Originally founded in the summer of 1910, our association works on behalf of member beekeepers, providing opportunities to learn the craft and science of beekeeping. Equally important, we provide a social outlet for members to meet with fellow beekeepers - opportunities to share tips and tales. We are blessed to have many excellent beekeepers who are always willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
Our association is committed to supporting the native dark bee, Apis mellifera mellifera.
We are affiliated to our national body, the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations (FIBKA). We provide our members with classes and support to attain FIBKA academic and practical certifications.
The Kevin Griffin apiary is located near the M1 roundabout at Junction 16, where members can come and gain practical experience through the beekeeping year.
We also hold regular lectures on all aspects of beekeeping. Members and interested non-members are always welcome to attend.
You have probably seen the mail sent by the secretary about an outbreak of European Foulbrood between Collon and Monasterboice. This is a bacterial disease of the brood, usually before the cells are sealed. Infected larvae can be seen twisted in an unnatural position and they lose their pearly white colour, becoming first yellow and then brown. Often the bees clean up and remove the dead larvae so all you'll notice is a patchy brood pattern. This Facebook post contains a video from the Scottish Beekeepers Association, showing what infected brood looks like:
Beekeeping falls under the category of farming and food production so you may attend to your bees during the lockdown. However, please don't abuse this privilege - remember that this freedom to travel to your bees is at the discretion of the Gardaí.
All events, including exams, apiary visits and even the FIBKA Summer School in Gormanston have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
Swarms - for beekeepers
With the beautiful weather we've had this Spring, we're likely to see early swarming. To help manage this, you are urged to mark and clip your queen - this won't prevent swarming but will give you extra time to respond. If you do see queen cells in your hive, be prepared to act: Dave Cushman's website has a lot of information on the subject, and you should definitely be familiar with the Pagden method of swarm control.
You may also be interested in catching swarms from the hives of those less well prepared beekeepers. Tom Seeley's paper on swarm traps is available from Cornell University and provides excellent information on the subject. Note: a brood box is around 40L so it's just the right size!
And a word of warning: catching a swarm is not worth risking injury or death. If a swarm is high up a tree, take extreme care and make sure any ladder is secure. Or just let it get away rather than taking a risk.
All lectures start at 8pm in Teagasc, Dundalk (see map). Beginners are welcome and admission is free. See the map below if you need help finding us.
If you have not paid your 2020 membership by now, you will have noticed that you have not received your monthly copies of An Beachaire and, importantly, you are not covered by insurance.
Remember that you get insurance, 12 copies of An Beachaire, online copies of BBKA News, access to the association apiary and the learning opportunities there, as well as the monthly lectures, so it's a real bargain.
The fee for an adult is €80. There are a number of ways to pay:
News and External Events
The news section has information on:
Swarms - for non-beekeepers
If a swarm is sitting on your apple tree or eaves please contact the secretary as quickly as possible. They are easy to catch and take away while there but will only stay there a short time and possibly move into your roof with the expense that can cause.
If bees have moved into your roof or shed or somewhere around your property and you want them removed, please contact the secretary who will pass on the information to someone who can help. However, please be certain that they are honey bees since we often get calls from people who have a wasps' nest or, this year especially, red mason bees which are completely harmless and will die off by the end of June. You may have a bumble bee nest in your garden or even solitary mining bees: see this. Bumble bees and solitary bees, including mining and mason bees, are pretty much harmless: they do have a sting but it either is so weak humans can't even feel it or it requires extreme provocation for them to sting.
This website is a work in progress, if members have interesting articles, stories, pictures, videos etc. that they'd like to submit for inclusion, please get in touch. We would be delighted to publish a blog post from anyone who has something to say. If you would like to share something but you're unsure about any aspect, we'll be delighted to help where we can. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the contact form.
Looking after your bees