Dear Fellow Beekeepers a ‘cead mile failte’ to our Web Site. You will have to realise when reading our web site we are all volunteers, so perhaps our website might not be as professional or indeed up to speed compared to other similar websites but in time things will most certainly improve.
The Royal County Association has been a functioning Beekeepers Association since the mid-seventies almost 45 years, but our website is only up and running for two years. Beekeeping is a beautiful and rewarding hobby and indeed nearly all of our members are enthusiastic hobbyists. The individuals that are not and are trying to make a living out of the craft are invariably poor, as an old friend of mine once said; ‘every bee he ever had died in debt’. Despite the financial implications, the joy of looking after a colony of bees brings great pleasure and challenges to the beekeeper and if one can survive the first couple of years without experiencing total loss, then that is an achievement in itself. You will become part of a group of folk of similar interests where you will have the pleasure of just talking about bees to fellow enthusiasts and in that time forget about the other boring aspects of life.
The Royal County has a very vibrant Association and in 2018 had 158 members. Every year the Executive Committee organizes at least one event every month commencing at the beginning of the year with Monthly Lectures hosted in Teagasc Navan. We are very indebted to Colin Finnegan for allowing us to use the premises in Navan on a monthly basis. We also host a beginner’s course every year, apiary days, summer outings, our annual honey show and finish the year with our A.G.M. The honey show deserves special mention. In 2018 we decided to host this important event in Trim during the staging of the ‘Royal Meath Show’ which takes place in September each year. Previous to this we held the event in a large hotel in Navan but decided to ‘bring it to the people’ in 2018. This was a huge success as it allowed people that were not necessarily interested in beekeeping the opportunity to see for themselves what was involved and also purchase or indeed taste the beautiful honey on offer. This event allows beekeepers to judge themselves against other beekeepers on how good their honey is, other products judged are honey cakes, biscuits, photographs, etc. The most important thing is to actually compete and by doing so, one certainly becomes a better beekeeper.
Our Website essentially is an overview of what is happening within our Association and will outline what is happening throughout the year. But if you really want to become a beekeeper join us and I can promise you will start a journey of learning and interest that will go on for eternity.
If anyone is thinking of setting up a dedicated Honey house here are the Department guidelines.
Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine
The Beekeeper’s Ideal Honey House The following points should be considered when setting up/equipping a honey house: The building should be:
Secure and free of domestic animals and pests. It should be bee/wasp proof.
An adequate size for current and anticipated future scale of production. Space requirements should take into account the need for comfortable working space as well as the need for storage space for supers, honey extraction and handling equipment, honey storage containers and jars.
Easily accessible for delivery of supers and collection of finished product.
Internally there should be: Walls and ceiling with washable smooth sealed surfaces (washable kitchen paint will suffice). A floor that is impervious, preferably smooth and easy to clean, ideally sloping towards the door. Adequate ventilation with guards fitted to prevent bee/wasp entry. Adequate lighting to avoid shadows in the working area. Lights should be fitted with covered fittings to avoid the risk of glass contaminating honey in the event of breakage. Hot and cold potable (drinking) water with suitable cleaning facilities for people and the equipment involved. Adequate electrical power points to avoid having cables stretched across the floor – consider all electrical items likely to be used – extractor, heating cabinet, dehumidifier, radio etc. Free of hazardous substances – the honey house should ideally only contain honey related items. There should be provision to safely store any waste material and hazardous substances such as cleaning agents or disinfectants. Such items should be stored at low level to minimise risk of contaminating work surfaces or honey.
The honey extraction, bottling and storage areas should be maintained in good structural condition and kept clean. The grounds adjacent to the honey house should be free of material/vegetation that may act as a breeding place for/harbour rodents, insects and/or other pests. Any queries please contact: Horticulture & Plant Health Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Backweston. Phone: 01 5058755