Last year we started planning our Apiary at Renvyle House as it has been a long time interest of owner John Coyle. Advice was sought from local beekeeper Gerard Coyne and Fr. Simon Sleeman (beekeeper) of Glenstal Abbey and they paid a visit to Renvyle House in July 2020 to survey possible locations on the grounds. There is little about the complex behaviour of bees that Mr. Coyne and Fr. Sleeman don’t not know and both are besotted with the insect, it was fascinating listening to their discourse.
There were good discussions of what the bees will need, we walked the grounds and found a perfect situation for the Apiary; away from guests, close to forage of wild flowers, easy access for the bees to the gardens and our orchards and of course a fresh water supply nearby. It was decided that we would work with the native bee which is perfectly adapted to the climate and forage of the region. Through genetics it has been proven, Ireland has some of the purest strains of European Dark Bee in the world. It is very important that we have an opportunity to assist in the conservation of this species of bee.
We appointed a head bee keeper, Steve Watson, in November 2020. Steve has many years of experience and with the native bee also. He will tend to the hives and with his knowledge and expertise, help settle the bees to their new home at Renvyle House. Who knows, we may even have a few jars of honey to have at the breakfast table in the autumn – now that’s a nice thought!
The timing of everything is very important so that the bees settle in easily. In mid February 2021, Tim and some of our team cleared the area where the Apiary will be and fenced off the area and evened out the ground surface where the hives will be placed. Very interesting packages arrived shortly after; our hives to be. We have opted for Rose Hives and are starting with three; these have been assembled and have had their first treatment with linseed oil to help preserve the wood. They look super already and a second coat of linseed will be applied next week.
Our three nucs (nucleus colonies) of native bees arrive in a couple of weeks’ time which is very exciting. We’ll keep you posted on progress.