Irish bee improvement - Mini-grafting of larvae 24 hours old - get your grubs from a friendly Buckfast beekeeper!
Why is this Irish beekeeper hiding behind the Buckfast  Beekeepers logo?

IBBA  The Irish Buckfast Beekeepers’ Association  is affiliated to the Federation of European Buckfast Beekeepers’ Associations (GdeB)

Isolated mating - How, where and why it works


In 1998, when the Varroa mite first appeared in Ireland, the Dep. of Agriculture made an unfortunately unsuccessful attempt to eradicate the parasite. The approximately 340 colonies present at the time in the Sligo/Manorhamilton area were destroyed. Consequently, due to the impossibility of any kind of treatment, all wild colonies of bees died. No hybrids or bees of any race where left and a ban was imposed on beekeeping. The now completely bee-less area could be restocked with bees from Co. Wexford after the ban was lifted in early 1999. Later in the year a German beekeeper gave us six Buckfast queens, which served as the basis of our now well established breeding programme.
Since then we positioned apiaries of Buckfast colonies at the outer entrances to the Five Glens or got into contact with beekeepers based in the areas and convinced them of the benefits of keeping Buckfast bees.  In this way we were able to establish a drone belt around Shanvaus Apiary facilitating a controlled open mating.
We are aware that the superb results we achieved were greatly assisted by the topographic structure of North Leitrim, the lovely part of Ireland we have the privilege to live in.

The good news spread within all parts of the country with the result that every year during the mating season (in particular on weekends) you will find beekeepers from all parts of Ireland travelling individually and in small groups to the five Glens of Leitrim in order to have their queens mated with pure bred Buckfast drones - a service free of charge.
The picture above illustrates a peculiar phenomenon that seems to exist only in Ireland. Some of our visitors do not want their identity to be revealed because the bee of their choice is the Buckfast bee. Let’s hope that a growing number of Irish Buckfast beekeepers will help them strengthen their self confidence to come forward undisguised in the future.

View isolated mating!