A Challenging Season

The idea of starting a new FIBKA Association in this beautiful picturesque Fastnet Area was but a dream. The delightful wild rock and hill strewn vista with lots of varied flora and fauna for bees and insects is a paradise for pollinators. What motivated us to start a new group initially was the arduous road journey from the Mizen Peninsula to Cork City CIT for beekeeping meetings and lectures. The idea of a new FIBKA Association had been floated for months and, as time passed, behind the scene preparations were commenced and FABKA (Fastnet Area Bee Keepers Association) became a reality.

Our inaugural meeting was scheduled for February 21st 2020, at the Teagasc office in Skibbereen. We were delighted to have President Paul O’Brien, with Munster Coordinator Gus McCoy, and the inimitable Eleanor Attridge, to get us all up and running ‘slowly’ (as it turned out).

Our beginners course was filling up ready for the first Sunday in March at the Riverside Studio in Skibbereen. Great progress was envisaged by us. We had canvassed a host of speakers, trainers, and beekeeping visits to get all beginners well equipped for their beekeeping experiences ahead.

Then Covid-19 happened.

As this situation rapidly evolves, we know there is an atmosphere of uncertainty as beekeepers wonder if they should change their plans. The prudent approach to this pandemic is to reduce social contact with others. With this in mind, each association must make their decision on suspending monthly meetings and any beginner courses that they may have started.

Paul O’Brien, FIBKA President, March 15th 2020

We took notice and postponed gatherings for what we hoped would be a few weeks.

The summer came (we think), but now with the shortening of the daylight hours the bees have a challenging season ahead. The Summer was strange; a wet late start into fair weather followed by a sun burst for a few days before the longest day when the sun went behind the clouds and the wind got progressively stronger and blew the blossoms off the shrubs, trees, flowers, etc. The poor bees’ bounty was scattered, but they struggled on and have recovered well despite what is now six weeks of broken weather.

The good news story for FABKA (Fastnet Area Beekeepers Association) is that on July 25th 2020 we purchased and placed two nucs (now hives) in our new association apiary with the kind permission of land owner Deelish Garden Centre in Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

At this time of writing, our aim remains to introduce new beekeepers to FIBKA through our association, plus provide support, enthusiasm and education for new people who would like to keep a few hives successfully.

There is still no restart date to finish our beginners’ course, and no permission from government sources through FIBKA to restart our monthly meetings or training gatherings in common with other associations throughout the country. We look forward to better beekeeping periods ahead where we can do the time-honoured social, hobby/work of bee care associated with a strange pleasurable affection for this ‘gun-toting’ miracle insect.