New classes in beekeeping are to begin again at Enniskillen Campus on Monday, February 2.

Ethel Irvine of Fermanagh Beekeepers’ Association, stated that the Association in association with the Ulster Beekeepers’ Association and CAFRE, holds a series of classes every year for those interested in beekeeping. The series consists of seven sessions on, for example, the equipment required to take up beekeeping, the life history and general behavior of the honey bee and a final three sessions at the hives in the Association Apiary when participants will learn how to control and handle the bee colonies.

The syllabus followed is that of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Association to be found at There is a short examination at the conclusion of the course for those who wish to earn their Preliminary Certificate.

The classes are suitable for those with no knowledge of honey bees and those who have some experience but who would like to know more. The cost is £100, including the examination fee. If a participant does not wish to sit the examination, the examination fee will be refunded. An application form and further details can be found o the UBKA web site at The classes will be held in the Enniskillen Campus of CAFRE on Monday evenings starting at 7.30pm, beginning on Monday, February 2 2015. Those interested should contact Andrew Elliott, class tutor, phone 02866348740 or email address (note the underscore after ’v’) Ethel has reminded beekeepers that they should continue to heft their hives on a weekly basis because there has been a great deal of activity in colonies before the end of 2014.

“The evidence of this can clearly be seen by looking under the open mesh floors at the amount of debris, which consists of wax cappings from stores, which has accumulated under the brood nest. Also bees have been flying fairly frequently during the winter, another activity which requires energy i.e. consumption of honey stores. If there is any doubt about the bees having enough food, feed with fondant above the brood nest.

“These first months of the year are always an anxious time for beekeepers as they wait to see if their colonies have survived. I have just heard of one hive being blown over in strong winds. The beekeeper had been keeping a close eye on his apiary and spotted the overturned hive less than an hour after it happened and was able to restore order, with, hopefully, no lasting damage being done. The bees had not been exposed to too much wet weather, which would have killed them. It is worth taking a few moments to check that apiary each day. “Observations at the hive entrances give indications of the state of colonies. On a bright day, temperature above around 8°C, bees should be flying, either for collection of any available pollen or for cleansing flights.

“It is interesting to have a look in gardens to see mahonia, quince, hellebores and snowdrops in bloom, all yielding pollen in varying amounts. Bees will never defecate in their hives unless they have nosema.

They keep the hive clear of anything which might cause disease. What they cannot remove, for example, slugs or any mouse unfortunate enough to have disturbed the cluster of bees, they will coat with propolis which, in effect, mummifies the body and prevents the products of decay spreading around the colony.

“The Annual General Meeting of Fermanagh Beekeepers’ Association will be held on January 29 2015 in the Enniskillen Hotel at 7pm. We would ask as many as possible to attend as some changes to the Constitution have been proposed for discussion and, hopefully, for adoption by the members. Membership fees are due at this meeting. The fee includes third party insurance. The year Programme acts as a receipt for the fees. For the first time, a dinner has been arranged to follow the AGM at 8pm. Anyone interested in attending should contact Secretary, Jorgen Pederson, at or by telephone, 07738965812.”