City to buzz as beekeepers swarm here

LONDONDERRY will be buzzing next month with the city set to host a major gathering of bee-keepers for the first time.

Monday, 26th August 2013, 4:46 pm
Billy Chambers (left) and Cyril Maguire of the Derry and District Bee Keepers' Association tend one of their local apiaries before transporting the hive to Fermanagh. (INJS3006BEES02)

The Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers’ (INIB) annual Beekeepers Gathering and Honey Show will take place in Londonderry’ s Guildhall on September 28.

Mayor Martin Reilly said: “It’s fantastic news that the city is hosting a conference and show of this significance.

“We are delighted that it is taking place in the Guildhall and that beekeepers and honey enthusiasts from all over Northern Ireland and the wider region will be coming to the city to participate.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the city and encourage more people to find out more about the skill of beekeeping and the huge benefits and uses of honey.”

Billy Chambers, Chairperson of Londonderry’s Bee Association said they were delighted to have secured just under £10,000 for the Big Lottery to run a range of arts and culture based programmes that aim to raise the importance of bees.

He said: “As well as the Bee Keepers Gathering and Honey Show, we have secured funding to run a Schools Education Programme, Creative Writing Programme and Irish Folklore Programme.

“As beekeepers this offers us an opportunity to offer a stimulating yet multi-faceted opportunity to celebrate the City of Culture 2013, through the historical and social wonders of bees and their produce.”

The Institute of Northern Ireland beekeepers Chairman, Michael Young MBE, said: “This year’s conference has something for everyone in the beekeeping world in Northern Ireland and is open to anyone interested in the many aspects of beekeeping.”

Alan McKinney, Chairman of the Roe Valley Beekeepers Association, said: “As the largest local beekeeping organisation, Roe Valley Beekeepers Association with over 100 active beekeeping members is delighted to be associated with this unique event as part of the City of Culture celebrations.”

The importance of the good health of bee populations has long been recognised both locally and globally.

Einstein once warned that if bees disappear we’ll follow within four years.

And local MP Mark Durkan recently highlighted the issue during a debate at Westminster.Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill recently confirmed she had a strategy in place to safeguard the honey bee locally due to its importance to the industry and the local economy.