News + Events


Happy New Year to all beekeepers...

The condolences of the association are expressed to the Collins family Timoleague on the recent death of Kay Collins, wife of Kevin and daughter in-law of our esteemed member Jerry.


Why our bees are disappearing!



Following the Annual General Meeting last week, the following officers were elected for the coming year:
Chairman: Liam Hodnett
Vice Chair: Paul Kelly
Secretary: Gobnait O'Donovan
Assistant: Secretary: Oliver O'Brien
Treasurer: Gerard Collins
Assistant treasurer: Barry Hayes
Best of luck to the committee for the coming year.
It was decided at the AGM not to immediately amalgamate with Carbery beekeepers. It was decided to join with Carbery for talks and demonstrations for the coming year and monitor attendance levels before committing to join for good.


Anyone who was unable to attend the AGM last Thursday night, are asked to pay membership (€40) to Liam Hodnett at West Cork  Builders, or Gobnait O'Donovan at O'Donovans Hotel before 13th December. South West Cork Beekeepers Association is now affiliated to the new national body, Irish Beekeepers Association CLG, who require our subs to be paid by the 15th December. For more information on the new national body, check out their website


There will be a 'Beginners Course' held after Christmas, early in the New Year. Anyone interested, especially new members, are asked to give their name to
Liam Hodnett 086 8901696
Gobnait O'Donovan 083 3068797
as they need to get an idea of how many would be interested. All are welcome!


The Annual General Meeting will be held in O'Donovans Hotel  Clonakilty on Thursday 30th Novemebr at 8pm. All members are requested to attend as the important decision to amalgamate with 'Carbery Beekeeprs' will be discussed and decided.
Also, an update on the new umbrella organization, Irish Beekeepers Association CLG, will be given. Check out for more information.


There will be an important meeting regarding Insurance and other issues on Thursday 26 October (this Thursday) in O'Donovans Hotel Clonakilty at 8pm. All members are urged to attend.


ApisProtect, a Cork-based start-up that uses the internet of things (IoT) and big data to help beekeepers reduce losses and increase productivity in hives, has been named Ignite business of the year.
The company was established earlier this year by Fiona Edwards-Murphy (26), a UCC student from Kanturk, who is currently pursuing a PhD in electrical and electronic engineering.
ApisProtect uses in-hive IoT-enabled sensors, machine learning and old-fashioned beekeeping knowledge to help beekeepers identify hive problems, diseases and pests.

Clonakilty Show

South West Bee Keepers Association had a stand at the recent Clonakilty Show.
Being the first time in recent years to attend the show in this way, it was encouraging to see a big interest from the general public in what was on display. The main interest was of course the demonstration hive where people could see the bees in action, going about their normal hive duties. Of particular interest was the search for the Queen who 'was wearing her pink dress for the occasion!'
Hopefully next  year on the strength of the interest shown, We will have a larger stand with more signage/banners and maybe a cover/gazebo also. Thanks to those who 'manned' the stand during the day and especially to Liam Hodnet who supplied the table, chairs and of course the bees. Thanks too to Dunmanway association for the use of the demonstration hive and 'fake' hive.

Bravo B&Q. All flowering plants sold by B&Q will be grown free from the pesticides that are linked to a decline in the bee population.


There will be a talk for beginner beekeepers on Monday 3rd April at 8pm in O'Donovans Hotel Clonakilty. The talk will be given by Mr Denis McCarthy.
Anyone interested in beekeeping or becoming a beekeeper are welcome to attend.


There will be a talk on Barrell Hives and other topics by Gerry Ryan on Monday 13th (tomorrow), at Dunmanway Hospital at 8pm.

All are welcome.


Article on Irish Examiner 3-3-2017

'Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations along with Birdwatch Ireland, the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, the Irish Wildlife Trust, and An Taisce were protesting against the Heritage Bill which was debated in the Seanad yesterday afternoon.
Existing legislation allows for hedge-cutting and upland burning from September 1 until the last day of February.


There will be a talk by Ben Harden and Keith Pierce on their experience of beekeeping and getting full supers from their beekeeping, at Cox's Hall, Dunmanway on Sunday next 19th Feb at 1:30pm sharp. All the West Cork associations have been invited. There will be trade stands from Gearoid McEoin and Irish Bee Supplies on display. There will be a draw on the door tickets for prizes including a €100 voucher. All are welcome.


Happy New Year to all. There will be a lecture on disease and hive management, which will be delivered by Eleanor Attridge on Wenesday evening  ( 18/1/17 ) in O'Donovans Hotel Clonakilty at 8pm. All are welcome and support for this event is appreciated.

(Apologies for short notice, Text notice has been distributed )



Article on the Examiner , 12-12-2016


The Annual General meeting of South West Cork Beekeepers Association will be held on Monday 12th December at 8pm in O'Donovan's  Hotel, Clonakilty. All are welcome.

A perfect Christmas gift... "Plants for bees" is the definitive guide to the plants that benefit bees...
“Plants for bees” is a beautifully illustrated and informative book that provides gardeners, beekeepers and bee lovers with all the information they need to create a healthy environment for the many species of bee in the British Isles.


More than 1bn jobs and three quarters of the world’s crops depend on bees and other pollinators, experts say. Scientists are warning that urgent action is needed to halt a global decline in pollinators which threatens economies and food supplies.


GETTING through the winter isn’t simple. However, the honey bee is one of the few insect species that is adapted to survive winter without becoming completely dormant.



Carbery beekeepers will host two lectures on 'Beekeeping for Beginners' on Monday 17th and Monday 24th of October at 8pm in The Sunderland Centre, Skibbereen. All interested are welcome to attend.


The last 20 years have witnessed a dramatic and unprecedented decline in bee populations. While intensive agriculture and the massive use of pesticides are believed to be the chief culprits, new practices among beekeepers also appear to be a contributing factor.

There has been a confirmed sighting of the Asian Hornet in South West England. There were unconfirmed reports of the hornet in Ireland in early August. In Wexford and Youghal!
Please be vigilant and report any suspicion of a sighting of this insect which directly threathens the honey bee population.


In the September issue of an Beachaire, there is an interview with Liam Rice, beekeeper of the year 2016. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Rice earlier this year when I went to him to collect 'Trees for Bees'. The man lives for his bees and the art of beekeeping. He was very interesting to listen too and hugely enthusiastic about all aspects of beekeeping. We could have stayed listening to him for hours.

Congratulations Mr Rice, Beekeeper of the year 2016.


We were surprised to become aware of the events that happened during the week. The association apiary site which was, we believed, a long term agreement was during the week 'Cleared out'.
It remains to be seen what the reasons were for this. Of course the owners of the ground are entitled to do what they have to do.
Have a look for yourselves below!

 Late May.  setting up.


Setting up


Early June


Early June



Useful Tips for Beekeepers and Honey Consumers.

This infographic (scroll down a bit to find it!) brings out some important information from the honey industry and gives practical tips for beekeepers and honey producers.


The Irish Wildlife Trust reiterates that Section 40 of the Wildlife Act still clearly outlines the period of the ban from March 1 until August 31, and urges people to report any illegal cutting of hedges to their local Gardai or National Parks and Wildlife Ranger to help ensure the protection of wildlife, and food sources for pollinators.


Ireland lost almost a third of its honey bee colonies last winter, and the very mild weather may be partly to blame.
The University of Limerick, the National Apiculture Programme and Teagasc are working together to find out why Ireland has been losing so many bee colonies.


A nest of hornets that can kill up to 50 bees a day has been found in the Channel Islands and destroyed, the Alderney government has said.
The UK National Bee Unit said the Asian hornet was a "significant threat to honey bees and other pollinators".


Do you know how honey is produced by the bees?

The western, or European honeybee, pollinates three quarters of the fruits, vegetables and nuts that we eat. We’d be in trouble without them. Of course, there’s a reason we don’t call them zucchini bees, almond bees, or apple bees. They also give us honey. One healthy hive will make and consume more than 50 kg of honey in a single year, and that takes a lot of work.

If you don’t know how do bees produce honey until now, after reading this text you will know very well the whole process…



There will be a beekeeping demonstration this coming Saturday (18th June) at 2pm at Tawnies Upper, Clonakilty.
After Clonakilty Garda barracks, take the first left at the old pink farmhouse and follow the signs thereafter.


The new home!

                                                                    Incoming Pollen


Setting up the Apiary.



"Pollinator Award for Tidy Towns
A new Pollinator Award, sponsored by the Heritage Offices & Biodiversity Offices of Local Authorities across Ireland, which encourages Tidy Towns groups to implement pollinator friendly actions as part of the national Tidy Towns competition, has been launched. Irish bees, crucial in the pollination of our plants, trees and vegetables, are in decline. The aim of the award is
to reverse this trend by encouraging Tidy Towns groups to take simple pollinator friendly measures in their local area. To find out more and start planning your pollinator projects see
Guidelines for Tidy Towns groups to help implement the Pollinator Plan will be available at
The guidelines will include practical actions as well as lists of the best plants for bees. The All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 is produced and co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre."
South West Cork Beekeepers Association has helped with this 'pollinator friendly action' by recently setting up the association apiary within the grounds of the 'Clonakilty Community Forrest'.


21st May 2016  was a landmark day for South West Cork Beekeepers Asociation. Yesterday, the long awaited association apiary was 'officially opened'. Three stands were erected at the site. The site was made available to use in association with the Clonakilty tidy towns and the association are very grateful for the use of the area. Photos and more information to follow.


A good discussion on Thursday night threw up an interesting natural treatment for varroa control. It was suggested by a very experienced senior member of the group, following discussions with a local herbalist, that putting nettles

directly on the hive under the crown board and also on the floor will help with varroa control! The following facebook post agrees with this idea.

The varroa are killed by Oxalic treatments at brrodless times of the year (Trickle and Vapour methods), Oxalic acid is one of many acids found in Nettles and Rhubarb.
Maybe worth a try!


For healthy honeybee family we should take health care of bees across the year. The honeybee is exposed to attacks from many diseases, parasites and pests leading to diminished production, and sometimes the loss of the royal family. One of the greatest scientists in the field of beekeeping, Farrar, formulated five “golden rules” for successful beekeeping and one of them requires healthy beehives.


There will be a meeting on Thursday 19th May in O'Donovans hotel Clonakilty at 8pm. The meeting will discuss winter losses and plan for the season ahead.

All are welcome.


Plant some seeds to Save The Bees 🌷🐝

Let's remind people of the important role pollinators play on Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day everyone.


There was a large attendance at the lecture on Monday evening. Delivered by Mr David Lee,

The talk extended beyond spring management to encompass all aspects of beekeeping from starting up as a beginner to treatments for varroa. While the talk was full of information, Mr Lee also spoke of his experiences, (clipping the virgin Queen!), and his amusing annecdotes added to the whole event.
South West Cork Beekeepers Association would like to thank Mr Lee for his time and look forward to his next visit in the near future for an apiary visit.
Thanks also to all those who turned up, both beginners and the more experienced, which made the event worthwhile.



South West Cork Beekeepers Association will hold a beekeeping lecture on Spring Management on Monday 11th April in O'Donovans Hotel Clonakilty at 8:00pm.
This lecture will be given by Mr. David Lee.

All are welcome.


Ten beekeeping tips learned from the first year of beekeeping shared with new beekeepers to help ensure the survival of their bees.


BAYER, BASF AND SYNGENTA are "SUING THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION" to overturn a ban on their new pesticides.

 Everyone knows these pesticides are killing millions of bees around the world....


The bad weather of last summer and autumn was bad news for bees.

IT IS finally looking like spring, our honey bees are flying and there is some strong blooming underway.
Bees are bringing in nectar and pollen, and the beekeepers are visiting their apiaries where their hives have been overwintering.
However, this autumn and winter was rough on bees and many beekeepers are opening hives to find their bees have died out.


From habitat loss to deadly parasites and diseases, bee populations are suffering widespread collapses around the world.
Now scientists claim pesticides may be playing a role too after finding they change the foraging behaviour of bumblebees on wild flowers and alter the plants they prefer to visit.


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a new website, #Efsa4Bees, dedicated to its work on bee health.

#Efsa4Bees will contain essential information about EFSA’s project on the risk assessment of multiple stressors in bees (MUST-B) as well as other relevant work in areas such as pesticides, animal health and environmental risk.


Look at what has been noticed in America!!

Call it “The Buzzing Dead.” Infestations of what scientists have dubbed “zombie bees” have spread across both the West and East coasts in recent years.
The honeybee hordes, while not actually undead, are the unwilling hosts to a parasite infection that researchers think drives the drones to act erratically, or “zombielike,” in the moments before they die.
                                         Fly maggots bursting from a parasitized honey bee.



The birds and the bees need help. Also, the butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and bats. Without an international effort, a new report warns, increasing numbers of species that promote the growth of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food each year face extinction


A study by the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found around 20,000 species of pollinators are essential to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of crops every year.
It pointed out two out of five species of invertebrate pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are moving towards extinction with one in six pollinators with backbones, such as hummingbirds and bats, also moving towards extinction.


Let dandelions grow. Bees, beetles and birds need them
Dandelions are demonised as one of the most pernicious weeds, but hold back on the mowing and you’ll find a whole range of garden wildlife depends on them for food, writes Kate Bradbury


Trees for Bees

2,000 450 Saplings await planting for your bees and when they are gone, they are gone!
If you are a member of an affiliated association of FIBKA and want trees, Here is what you must do.
  • Plan your planting event during tree week 6th - 12th March
  • Register your event or events 

Its simple and its imperative as we will get our saplings for 2017 based on the number of events that that we register NOW.

Some brood rearing is taking place but is dependent on factors such as increased temperatures, food supply and sufficient bees to feed and look after young larvae, writes Willie O'Byrne.


17 February 2016

#‎Bees‬ & Chalkbrood ‪#‎beekeeping‬ ‪#‎savethebees‬ ‪#‎research‬ ‪#‎science‬ ‪#‎nature‬ ‪#‎pollinators‬ ‪#‎fungus‬ ‪#‎pathogen‬ ‪#‎honeybee‬
Chalkbrood (Ascosphaera apis) is regarded by many beekeepers as a nuisance. Yet selecting queens from colonies that resist chalk brood can leave you with highly hygienic colonies that are better able to withstand varroa infestation.

16 February 2016

Life in clover? ‪#‎honeybees‬, ‪#‎bumblebees‬, ‪#‎bees‬ & other ‪#‎pollinators‬‪#‎nature‬ ‪#‎environment‬ ‪#‎science‬ ‪#‎research‬
Spot a red clover flower and oftentimes you see a bumble bee sitting on it. It is evocative image that instinctively springs to mind. Indeed many text books say red clover requires a long tongued bee to pollinate it so a generalist short tongued bee might not be the pollinator of choice… ruling out honey bees (Apis mellifera).

16 February 2016
More than 20 years after neonicotinoid pesticides hit the market, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its first assessment of the impacts on honey bees. Looking at one neonic in isolation — Bayer's imidacloprid — the agency acknowledges some harm to bees. But it's still missing the big picture.

15 February 2016
Despite failing to meet its green targets, the EU has cut funding for eco-friendly farming measures by €1bn.

 5 February 2016
To bee or not to bee.. the question is whether mankind can continue to exist without them.
According to Albert Einstein, the human race would disappear in a couple of generations without the pollinating work of our flying friends but the reality is that they are fast becoming an endangered species.

25 January 2016   

Mary O’Riordan looks at the long history of honey wine — aka mead.



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22 January 2016

Zimbabwe's honey industry is under threat from a killer wasp which feeds on bees. Not only do the beekeepers face the usual pests and diseases that European honey bees encounter, they also suffer from infestations of the pirate bee, Palarus latifrons. This wasp patrols the hive entrance, capturing honey bees and sucking the juices out of the unfortunate bees!
This forces honey bees to remain inside the hive, thereby limiting the time they should be out collecting nectar used to produce honey. The pirate bee or cuckoo bee, first discovered some years back in Cape Verde -- a chain of islands off the western coast of Africa -- has become a major threat to the honey industry.
"The pirate bee has come while we are also facing challenges to do with adequate forage and water for the bees. This has greatly affected our projects," said Nyovani Ndlovu, a beekeeper and kraal head at Njanjanja village, Lupane.
Cliff Maunze, from Forest Forces said: "What we have advised beekeepers is to upgrade their hives from the traditional ones (mukoko), which they used. We have given them user friendly, technical knowhow on how to address the challenges to do with pirate bees. They use sticky substances to trap the killer insects when they land on hive entrances before killing them. We are looking at planting gum trees to increase the forage density for the bees as well."


19 January 2016

In an effort that would put heavy metal fans to shame, researchers have for the first time captured Australian bees’ unique approach to pollination – headbanging flowers up to 350 times a second.





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19 January 2016

As the sole bee in her caste, the queen bee is an illustrious member of the beehive. She is not only unique among her colony’s population, she is vital to maintaining that population. A queen can lay up to 1,500 eggs a day! Although egg laying is her main gig, the queen has many other qualities that may surprise you. Read on to find out more about this all-important bee.





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Natural Varroa mite-surviving Apis mellifera honeybee populations.



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Beehive demonstration June 14th 3.00pm

Another great opportunity to see the hives opened and learn more about bee-keeping from an experienced bee-keeper.

This year's demo was at Denis O'Hea's Apiary in Woodfield at 3.00pm  on Saturday 14th June

Expert bee Keeper David Lee lead the demonstration


Last Year's Beehive demonstration with David Lee

David Lee gave an informative live demonstration at the bee-hives.  The talk took place at Duvane Farm at 2.00 pm on Saturday 8th June 2013 at  2.00pm

Duvane Farm (pictured) is a mile outside Clonakilty on the main road to Skibbereen.  The demonstration  gave newcomers and experienced bee keepers an opportunity to handle and work with bees under expert guidance.

Film footage and photos to follow!

Beekeeping supplies special offers

If you would like to order supplies then contact Liam for discount offers from Thorne's.  Catalogue here. 


Send your requirements to Gobnait or Liam as quickly as possible.

Other events

 The South West Cork BKA runs regular events in the region and one-off events such as lectures and outdoor demonstrations as the opportunity arise. To be kept up-to-date about our events, please check this website regularly or join our mailing list for updates by email or text.  To join the list just email us at

Regular Events:
Annual Summer Course
Where: Franciscan College, Gormanston, Co. Meath
When: Sunday, July 22nd to Friday, July 27th, 2012.

What: The Gormanston Summer Course is organised by the FIBKA has universal appeal both for the beginner and the advanced enthusiast. It offers a range of lectures and workshops covering a wide programme in the practical and scientific areas. The Guest Lecturer this year is Jennifer Berry from the University of Georgia, USA, where she is Apicultural Research Co-Ordinator and Laboratory Manager. For further info, click here.

Recent events
Queen Rearing Course
This course is addressed to … experienced beekeepers and beginners alike. It will cover the following topics: controlling bees, working for honey, rearing to increase honey production, a busman’s holiday (working with Bro. Adam at Buckfast Abbey) and integrated swarm control. The course will be delivered by Noel Power, CFL, British Wax Chandlers Winner.

Noel Power demonstrates his queen rearing equipment
To get the project started the talk on queen rearing by bee-expert Noel Power took place at O' Donovan's Hotel, Clonakilty at 8pm on Monday 20th February. The talk was attended by members new and old hoping to learn more about how to rear queens to servie the local hives.

"The life of a drone is not a happy one, bee-keeper Noel Power told the Clonakilty audience of the South West Cork Bee Keeper's Association. The poor fellow has half the chromosomes of the female workers, lives on the edge of the hive where he is the first to die of cold or go hungry if food is scarce, and when his moment of glory comes to mate with the queen, he dies soon afterwards".  Read more here...