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01 Jul 2022

Hive of industry: Limerick's youngest beekeeper celebrates World Bee Day

Hive of industry: Limerick's youngest beekeeper celebrates World Bee Day

Darragh, aged 3, wears the smallest beekeeping suit ever

WHEN it comes to beekeepers in County Limerick, Pauline Walsh is the queen.

The secretary of the 3 Counties Beekeeping Association is also keeping her grandchildren very busy as they celebrate World Bee Day this Friday, May 20.

"I have some of my grandchildren interested in the art of beekeeping. When we have the new season honey their comments are, 'Granny, I just love the taste of new season honey'. They are like professional honey samplers.

"The eldest Luke, who is now almost 11, started when he was three. His brother Conor is almost 9 now began when he was two. The latest recruit Darragh is three and showed interest at his first visit recently," said Pauline.

The Knocklong woman stresses the crucial role bees play in our eco system. Pauline says there are many types of pollinators - bumble bee, solitary bees, solitary wasps, and the honey bee.

To mark World Bee Day and help them she asks that we leave wild areas in gardens.

"Dandelions are one of bees go too plants in the spring. Keep hedge cutting to a bare minimum as this year’s growth is next year’s flowers which all the pollinators need to survive. Don’t use pesticides and weed killers as they can kill the bees due to disorientation or they take pollen back to the colony that has been poisoned and feed to their young," said Pauline, whose great passion is working with native Irish honey bees.

"One of the joys is sharing the knowledge I keep acquiring from more senior beekeepers. We have a junior section in our local beekeeping association which is based in south east Limerick covering west Tipperary and north Cork though we have members from Clare, Dublin, Kerry, Derry.

"We have the joy of the young members' eagerness and know the bees will be in good hands into the future. Another joy was the creation of Tigín Honey. Hopefully this year will be better for the bees and therefore for honey production," said Pauline.

Bees are now awake, growing in their colonies and soon will multiply enough to need to expand.

"They do this by swarming. To do this they prepare a new queen and when she is almost ready to be born the older queen slims down so she can fly and take half the colony with half the honey stocks with them to start their new hive. When bees swarm they will take to the sky. Those who have never seen one may panic. There is no need to be afraid as the bees are busy looking for another home. They won't be aggressive unless you interfere with them," said Pauline.

If you come across a swarm, Pauline or one of her colleagues will be glad to assist. For more information on beekeeping please contact Pauline on 0879641388 or email secretary3countiesbka@gmail.com 

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