With a new beekeeping season just around the corner DAERA is encouraging the voluntary registration of beekeepers and their apiaries on a new web-based system.
This will help the Forest Service Bee Health Inspectorate effectively plan inspections and disease surveillance programmes.
Beekeepers will soon be starting to check their colonies to see how they have fared over the winter months and to prepare them for the best possible start to the new beekeeping year.
This is a critical time for bees as longer days mean the queen increases laying, so beekeepers should ensure that they have adequate supplies of food for the new brood. Disease levels are also a key concern of the beekeeper and affect the colony’s ability to survive and produce a honey crop later when the nectar flows start.
Bee Health Inspectors in DAERA Forest Service will soon start their seasonal inspection programme for the control of American foulbrood and European foulbrood, notifiable diseases that have seen increased levels recorded in Northern Ireland in recent years. Having reliable data on numbers and locations of hives in here has never been more important.
The Ulster Beekeeping Association (UBKA) and the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers (INIB) have met with DAERA to discuss and finalise plans for the launch of registration system.
Susie Hill of UBKA said the Association was totally supportive of the initiative: “The new register will assist greatly in controlling disease in our bees and we will be promoting its uptake.”
Valentine Hodges of INIB: “We welcome this development and the priority given to it by DAERA. We will be actively encouraging our members to register on the system.”
To register as a beekeeper in Northern Ireland, log on to the DAERA website.