June Newsletter

Hello Beekeepers! Welcome to our June newsletter. As always, we’ll start off by sharing some Donegal Bees updates.

Our 2022 catalogue is now ready for distribution! If you’d like a free copy posted to you, please email us at enquiries@donegalbees.ie or give us a ring at 0749710140. Alternatively, you can download a PDF copy HERE as well. Please bear in mind that due to the current unstable economic climate, some prices may vary during the year but as always, the most up to date prices will be on our website. 

The month of May was home to World Bee Day, which of course is a big occasion for us here at Donegal Bees! World Bee Day falls on May 20th each year, having only begun back in 2017. It was the country of Slovenia that proposed that the United Nations (UN) proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day, in honour of Slovenian beekeeper Anton Janša whose birthday falls on that day. Anton Janša is considered the father of modern beekeeping. 

To celebrate World Bee Day we ran a collection of promotions with the intention of encouraging the art of beekeeping and spreading the awareness of the importance of our buzzy friends. Promotions included sharing fun bee facts on our social media, offering free shipping to beginners, giving out free bee-friendly flower seeds with orders & advertising our child-orientated Family Pack. 

We also hosted a Everything Bees! themed competition, where we asked for people to submit their best bee-related photos to be in with a chance of winning a complete National Polystyrene Hive Starter Kit (worth €330). We received well over 100 bee-rilliant photos which made it very tough to choose a winner! 

In the end the lucky winner was Deirdre Macklin. You can see their winning photo below, but also do check out all of our finalists' photos HERE as they make for a very bee-utiful gallery! 

Congrats to Deirdre Macklin!!

Other exciting news last month is we had an article posted on Donegal Daily about the importance of World Bee Day, which you can read HERE.

And Ryan Tubridy also gave us a mention on his national morning radio show on RTÉ Radio 1! We posted the shout out on our Facebook HERE

  • Continue as in May (see HERE
  • If you’ve successfully controlled swarming, the need for regular inspections is coming to an end. 
  • If you have a ‘June gap’ in your area, make sure that your bees have sufficient food reserves to keep them going. (See Apimix)
  • Try to make sure that a newly mated queen resulting from swarm control measures is heading your main honey-producing colony. This will greatly reduce the chance of the colony swarming a second time. (See our Queen Mating Boxes

Courtesy of the Haynes Bee Manual

Haynes Bee Manual
Colony Record Card

The month of June on the beekeeper’s calendar is a busy time for most colonies, so it’s important to continue your hive checks on a weekly basis. Identify the queen, check the overall health of the hive, and add honey supers as needed. Let those amazing little creatures do what they do best!  

If you intend to pull honey from the hives this season, June is a good time to check on the necessary tools for extracting and containers for storing your honey harvest. See our Extraction products to be used for honey extraction, our Buckets & Tanks for honey storage, and our selection of Jars & Lids for your honey selling needs. 

Many of you may have newer equipment which can make a huge difference on how fast the bees grow as they are also building the wax for their nest.  By now, if you are keeping bees in 2 deeps, you should have honey supers on.  If the frames are brand new, sometimes the bees are hesitant to draw out new wax.  TIP: spray the foundations with sugar water to get them to move up.  

Also, add supers without the queen excluder. Come back 7-10 days later and add the queen excluder. Make sure your queen is not in the supers.  Adding 2 supers at a time will help to curb swarm tendency. 

June is also a good time to check for mites. Varroa mites will peak in July-August. So it’s a good time to evaluate your mite levels and decide on your method for controlling them if it is needed. (See VarroMed, a natural medical treatment that is safe to use during spring season.) 

Continue to examine (and if possible exchange) Brood Frames for any signs of disease or swarming. Bee Disease identification cards are helpful.   The brood should be able to occupy most of the Brood Chamber this month. Swarming will continue through June so you will have to continue to be vigilant. You may be able to take off some frames of capped Honey or even complete Supers, ensure you have empty Frames or Supers to replace those taken. 

Beekeeping for Beginners is a great and easy to follow book for beginner beekeepers and covers a wide range of topics from Getting Started, Colony Management, Colony Protection and Equipment needed.

A Swarm Catching Bag is a great tool for out of reach swarms. 

Swarm Catcher Bag

TIP: Joining a local beekeeping association or club is the best way to learn about the particulars of beekeeping for your region. It’s one of the first things we suggest to anyone looking to become a beekeeper. 

Federation of Irish Beekeepers Association - https://irishbeekeeping.ie/

​Irish Beekeepers Association CLG - https://www.irishbeekeepersassociation.com/

Essential Equipment:

  • Protective Clothing
  • Smoker
  • Hive Tools
  • Record Book. 
  • New Brood Frames and Foundation
  • Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation
  • Bee Escapes for clearing Supers
  • Bee Brush

Our Basic Kit includes a beesuit, gloves, smoker, hive tool and a bee brush. €115 

A common question we get is how do you remove bees from the super when its time to replace it. The best and most efficient way to clear bees is to remove the super from the hive, insert a Clearer Board on top of the brood chamber, then place the super back onto the hive. Return a few hours later and the super should be cleared of bees, as whilst the bees can leave through the Clearer Board, they cannot get back in. See our collection of Clearer Boards and Escapes HERE.

Due to popular demand, we will be restocking the 4oz Pien Hammer by mid June. 

Lastly, thank you for keeping bees! Let us know if you have any questions regarding your hive, we’re always happy to help. 

1 comment

  • Several frames of honey in the super above the brood chamber which is there for the use of the bees has crystallised is this a problem?
    Frames in supe on next level up are filling nicely.

    Larry Feeney

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