May 2023 Newsletter

Hello beekeepers! Mara daoibh a bheachairí!  

We hope this newsletter finds you well and buzzing with excitement for the upcoming busy summer months. As always, Donegal Bees is here to provide you with advice, tips, and support for all your beekeeping needs! We've been working hard to create a bank of helpful resources and tips for beekeepers throughout the year, which you can access on our blog. And of course, if you need any further assistance, please don't hesitate to get in touch. 

We've had a busy few months attending various events and meetings across the country. On March 10th we were at the NIHBS show in Tullamore, and attended a candle making class with the Roe Valley Association in Limavady on March 23rd. On April 17th Thomas attended a meeting with the Longford Beekeepers Association, and looking ahead, we will be at the Tribes Beekeepers Association in Galway on May 8th and the Offaly Beekeepers meeting on May 28th. Thomas is always happy to travel the country to help out beekeepers, so please get in touch if you'd like us to visit your meeting or event.

We're excited to announce that our 2023 catalogue is now available! To order your free copy, simply visit our website or get in touch with us directly. We're always committed to making beekeeping as accessible and affordable as possible for everyone in Ireland. That's why we're glad to be able to reduce the price on several of our products this year, including machinery and Hive Alive Fondant. Our Bee Meadow Seed Packs are also back in stock, along with our new Bee and Butterfly Seed Mix. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get sowing and create a pollinator-friendly garden for bees and butterflies to enjoy!

We were so happy to have had our local Naíonra class in to visit us recently! Our buzz-y little visitors were in to learn all about bees, and even helped us plant our new pollinator-friendly flowers outside the premises, and they did a fantastic job! Go raibh maith agaibh Naíonra! 

Lastly, don't forget that World Bee Day is coming up on May 20th! We have exciting activities planned to celebrate, more of which we will share very soon! And just a reminder about the free shipping offer we are currently running - at Christmas to thank everyone for their continued support and custom, we offered free shipping on their next orders, which kicked in from February 1st. To avail of this promotion make sure to use the code thankyou22 next time you’re at the checkout or making an order over the phone! (One use per customer.) 

Thank you for your continued support, and happy beekeeping!

  • Make sure that colonies have sufficient room for the queens to lay. 
  •  Replace empty supers to prevent colony congestion. 
  •  Continue adding supers as each new box on the hive fills with bees. 
  •  Continue regular brood nest inspections, keep an eye out for swarm cells. 
  •  List the steps of your chosen method of swarm control. 
  •  Set up swarm traps or Bait Hives. 
  •  Remove supers or frames full of honey that are ready for extraction. 
  •  Make sure you have all the necessary equipment to hand. 
  •  Remember to fill in your Colony Record Cards each time you inspect a hive. 

Courtesy of the Haynes Bee Manual

May flowers are popping up everywhere and your hives are busy. The bee population is expanding rapidly and there’s plenty to do for every member of the hive, plus the avid beekeeper.

May Bees

Now the activity really starts hopping. Be prepared; May is a major swarming month. The queen will be approaching her maximum rate of egg laying and new hives will be building comb as fast as they can. Established hives will be busy collecting nectar and pollen, which will now be abundant and coming into the hive fast.

Beekeeping and Spring Cleaning 

If you weren’t able to get to it last month, a good spring cleaning is needed, as soon as possible. Clean the bottom board, reverse and inspect the brood boxes. Look for queen activity and evaluate brood pattern. Continue feeding until they stop taking it or until you install honey supers. This is especially important for new hives as they are building comb and raising brood with every available resource.

Watch for swarming 

Be aware of swarm indicators and control protocols. For existing hives, it’s critical that you monitor and add supers as needed; otherwise, your hive may swarm if it’s strong and growing. When inspecting, look for swarm cells on the bottom of frames. Remove them if you can, but your best option is to monitor and add supers before they feel congested and start making swarm preparations. If the hive is very congested, you can also consider hive splitting or setting up a bait hive. Keep your veil tight, your smoker lit, and your hive tool handy. It’s just good beekeeping!

Bait Hives

This is basically a spare box or hive normally placed in an existing apiary. Swarm lures and wipes can be used to encourage to swarms into it. Old comb can also used, for example some frames from another colony, as the bees like smell of wax. An example to use would be the National Polystyrene Nucleus (Type 2) which ranges from €75 to €96. 

By May, your mite treatments should be completed and removed from the hive before adding honey supers. You may also add queen excluders at this time, and supers can be placed on top of your brood box. Other tasks on the beekeeper’s calendar include installing package bees and conducting your first hive inspection a week or so later. Make a habit of inspecting all established hives weekly. 

As the queen begins laying eggs at a greater rate, hives with a larger population may prepare for swarming. By keeping an eye out for queen cells, you may be able to tell if a swarm is in the making. Late May into June is a great time to catch a swarm of bees, too, so be sure to have a hive ready in case you have the opportunity. 

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. 

Essential Equipment:

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools
  • New Frames and Foundation
  • Spare Brood Chamber/s
  •  Bait Hives & Swarm Lures
  •  Colony Records
  •  Queen Excluders

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


With the new shapes of LYSON silicone moulds you will conjure up candles in the shape of animals (bear, sparrow, owl, reindeer) and also gnomes, angels or a snowy Christmas tree. All new silicone moulds models have a marked wick placement point. Moulds are made of flexible and durable silicone with plastic properties that allow repeated use. Before filling the mould with liquid wax, it is recommended to spray it with silicone spray. Silicone is both: a preservative for the mould and a factor that makes it easier to remove the finished candles. The prepared candle can be sprayed lightly with silicone spray which will give it a shine. During the preparation of candles, you can slightly "refine" the candles by adding to the liquid wax fragrance oils for candles. Candles made in this way will be an unusual decoration, as well as an original gift for family and friends.


The capping spinner is an unusually useful device for removing honey remnants from wax cappings. That is particularly important in the case of large apiaries, as the amount of honey produced is high. With the device, the separation process becomes far simpler and, what’s even more important, more efficient. The device is made of 1.4301 grade stainless steel, which guarantees its durability and robustness. Thanks to its size and weight, the device stays stable during high-speed operation, offering comfortable and safe working conditions. The separation process is performed by feeding the cappings with honey into the high speed spinning basket of the machine. Thanks to the centrifugal force, chunks of wax are deposited on the walls of the basket, and the liquid honey is drained out of the separator.


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  • Replace empty supers to prevent colony congestion only make sense when it says Replace “with” empty supers… and as an immediate follow-on to Remove supers and frames full of honey that are ready for extraction. Page 157 of Haynes.

    tony o brien
  • Hi just received your delivery of 2023 catalog thanks again for sending it to me the flow is on

    John Brennan
  • Could you forward the 2023 catalogue to -
    Gerald Needham, Oriel, Mountgordon, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. F23C677.
    Many thanks.

    Gerald Needham

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