Hi , I’m a new flow hive beekeeper In Wicklow, looking to connect with flow owners in Ireland to share knowledge. Thanks
I have my flow hive in West Cork now, near the beginning of learning beekeeping and planning for 2021. I would love to track down all of the local differences from how beekeeping is done here vs. elsewhere, like frame sizes, O.M.F. and other varroa mite mitigation, surviving winter and wet conditions, ideal brood size for dormant months, and all the other things I don’t yet know!
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum. I believe that @JimM is in Ireland, although his profile doesn’t say where. He has a lot of experience and gives good advice, so hopefully he can point you in the right direction.
That’s great, thank you very much Dawn!
The best advice I can give you is to make contact with local beekeepers and learn from them. There are beekeeping associations in all counties of Ireland, some more active than others. They place a huge emphasis on education and learning. Most offer learner courses, and give the opportunity to advance to further education. In the covid era these lectures etc have moved online, but this might even be an advantage if you are in a perticularly remote part of Cork!
Here is a list of the associations in Ireland
On your specific questions
Most hobbyist beekeepers use National size brood boxes and supers. They are relatively small and easy to manipulate. Other frame sizes in use are Commercial and Langsroth which are larger. In my experience most beekeepers here now use open mesh floors and treat for varoa as it is everywhere, but some dont treat and report good results. I use apiguard in August and oxalic acid in december. These are both organic, will not give rise to resistance and are easy on the bees.
Most people in Ireland use the native bee, the back bee. This bee is well adapted to the climate and overwinters well in a single brood box. Some use buckfast type bees. However I would strongly advise you to use the bee type from your local area. bringing in buckfasts into an area where most bees are native blacks will not endear you to your fellow beekeepers as crosses between booth strains have a reputation for agression. The same applies in the opposite sense too.
Finally, it is important to realise the the flow hive is just another way to extract honey. It is not a different way of beekeeping.
As a beginners book I would recommend The Haynes Bee Manual
It was so kind of you to offer such a detailed packet of advice. I really appreciate it very much. I can see how important local knowledge is because conditions, threats and bee varieties can vary so much. I am going to order The Bee Manual tonight, on your advice, and also talk to a neighbour who recently started beekeeping and mentioned the native black bee as “hardy but lazy.” I am more interested in having a healthy hive than trying to prime as much honey out of it as I can. There was a hollow log with a healthy hive on the property ca. 2015 but another local said the varroa mite ultimately caused it to fail. Lastly, I plan to take very good notes of advice, observations and keep a journal so I can learn to do this well, for the enjoyment from succeeding at it. Thanks again. I know I will be back here to forum with more questions!