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.
Read more about us here.
We have five apiaries: one is located outside Newry and our training, queen-rearing and mating apiaries are located near the M1 roundabout at Junction 16, where members can come and gain practical experience through the beekeeping year. We also have another smaller apiary, which is used for breeding bees.
We have completely renovated what was a semi-derelict building on the M1 apiary site, and cleared and levelled much of the surrounding ground. It was recently painted, and now has functioning ladies' & gents' toilets too, and has even had heating added in the form of a wood-burning stove. The roof has been repaired and it's a wonderful location for lectures (like the one above), although with the lack of electricity for lighting, that will probably be reserved for the summer.
News from the AGM
The big news is that we now have a new secretary. We are very grateful to Anna Monaghan for the work she has done for the association for the past six years. Her replacement is Billy Campbell and he started picking up Anna's duties already at the AGM.
We have a few events coming up:
Our Honey Show is a wonderful opportunity to show off your honey and wax, as well as your mead-making and baking skills, and much more. You will learn a lot about how to prepare things for show and will have fun, as well as the chance to win prizes.
See here for details (this is for 2022 but we'll update it if any changes are needed).
We're offering gift certificates for sale in the shop for annual membership (individual & family), as well as for the beginners' course. So, if you know someone who might appreciate an unusual birthday or Christmas present, this might just be for them!
For a change, here's some information on something that's FREE! The Department of Agriculture's Honey bee Health Surveillance Programme provides disease testing for bees for free. If you send samples of bees and/or comb, they can test for Foulbrood, Nosema and more, and all it'll cost you is the price of a stamp. A surprisingly small number of beekeepers avail of this service - the department would like far more samples since this also gives them an idea of what diseases are present in Ireland. The recommendation is to send in samples from all your hives twice a year, and especially whenever you suspect there may be something wrong.
Send your samples along with this form to the address on the form.
Looking after your bees
About this website
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.
Events 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.
The honey from our Aughnagun Apiary was entered into the London Honey Show in October 2023 and it came first in its class. Winning anything in the show is a huge honour and reflects the quality of the bell heather honey collected from the apiary. Since we're interested in the bees rather than the honey, it will be sold by Newry & Mourne Council and the money will be put into the Lord Mayor's fund which is used for charities in the area.
Since this is the centenary year, this first prize also got a centenary coin. These medals were awarded to all the first prize winners this year. The design on the coin was decided at last year's show, and this particular motif was designed by none other than our chairman, Paul Boyle.
FIBKA has reintroduced the old education system, which means that they will hold Intermediate and Senior Scientific exams around April 2024. Because of this, we have started a study group for Intermediate Scientific on Zoom:
What: Intermediate Scientific Study Group
Where: Online using Zoom meetings
When: Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm
While the rule is that you must have completed the Preliminary exam to do the Intermediate, anyone who has the Stage 2 book from the new system should get it signed by one of the more experienced members of the association. That will also work to satisfy that requirement.
If you're interested, please let the secretary know a.s.a.p. - it shouldn't be too difficult to catch up.
We're also starting a Senior Scientific study group. The details will be posted here once they are finalised.
We are also looking at Microscopy education. We plan on running two classes, one for those who are starting microscopy or want to refresh their knowledge, and one for those planning on taking the Senior microscopy exam in 2024. Please let the secretary know if you're interested, and be specific about which class you're interested in. Note that you must have completed your Intermediate certificate before taking the Senior exam.
For more information, look at the pages for Intermediate and Senior examinations.
Beginners Course 2024
As usual, we plan on running a beginners course, starting with an introductory lecture on January 25th. Following that, we will hold eight lectures on Thursday evenings, starting on February 8th. Once the weather warms up, we will continue with the practical aspects of beekeeping in the association apiary, usually on Saturday mornings. This practical instruction will continue through the season and you will be given the opportunity to take the FIBKA Preliminary Exam.
Since FIBKA have reverted to the old education system, the course fees this year have to include membership so that participants are insured while at the apiary, so that the fee for the course and membership is €180 (or €250 for a family). Under-18's are, as usual, free, although they must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
If you know someone who might be interested, please let them know. Since it's that time of year, you might even be tempted to get the keeper in your life a gift certificate for the course.
Membership fees for 2024 can be paid now. Unfortunately, like everywhere else, FIBKA's costs have increased and they have put up their affiliation fee, so we are forced to pass that on. This means that our fees will be €90 for an individual and €135 for a family. However, we are offering a €10 discount if paid before 31st December 2023.
Remember that you get liability 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.
There are a number of ways to pay:
All new members should complete the FIBKA membership form.
Note: The service provider of our online shop charges €5 so the prices are slightly higher. However, the normal prices apply if paying by direct debit or personally.
Note: Please make sure the secretary has your address, including your Eircode!
There are a number of ways to pay: