PROFESSOR John Breen from Limerick University was the speaker at Dromore Beekeepers’ Association on Tuesday 15th January.
This was John’s first visit to a Beekeepers’ Association in Northern Ireland and the first time the Dromore Association discussed bees other than honeybees.
Most beekeepers dislike wasps because they rob weak honeybee colonies and can be troublesome when eating outdoors but, like most gardeners, they enjoy seeing and hearing bumblebees in their gardens.
Until this lecture most Dromore members were unaware that there are six species of wasps and 20 species of bumblebees.
Each species of bee has its own favourite flowers from which it collects nectar and John showed some beautiful photographs of flowers he had deliberately planted in his own garden to attract the various bees. John went on to describe, with beautiful photographs, the various bees and wasps which can frequently be seen in the garden and some more which had a more specialised habitat.
Members will certainly take more interest in the visitors to their gardens and try to identify them.
Males and females look differently in both bees and wasps and, as in honeybees, the males don’t sting it would be possible to gather male bees in your hand, if you were sure and lucky.
Beekeepers have a great interest in conserving the environment, partly to retain good forage for their bees but partly to retain and add to the diversification of the countryside.
Indeed many beekeepers commenced the craft out of a love for and interest in the environment; they didn’t commence beekeeping to make a fortune and, if they did, 2012 would have disillusioned them.
The Dromore beekeepers are now looking forward to Spring when their own bees will be more active and when they will know much more about the other visitors to their gardens.