Roger first came to the Isle of Man for beekeeping purposes in 2009, when he was invited to help assess and improve the Manx honey bees. He has visited several times since and has become well known to many of us. He is advising our Manx Bee Improvement Group (MBIG),  a sub-committee of the Fed, so relevant to all of us. Already there have been a number of queens raised, with improvements experienced in some of the colonies, especially those at Shenharra. Roger organised the recent highly successful BIBBA conference on the Island that many of us attended and enjoyed.

Roger will be giving two days of presentations to help increase the knowledge of Manx beekeepers and give us ideas of what we may need to read up on. We don’t often get the chance of tuition from other beekeepers, so it is hoped that as many beekeepers as possible will attend.

Many beekeepers from outside are not familiar with our beekeeping or the type of bees that thrive in our conditions, so the information they give may not be particularly relevant to us, but Roger keeps similar bees himself and has had quite a lot of experience of our Manx bees.

The programme for the weekend is:-

Saturday 21st January.

  • Beginners, up to 2-3 years experience.

Sunday 22nd January.

  • Beekeepers with more experience.

Both days 10.00am – 4.00pm at the Sailors Shelter,  Peel. 

There will be a £5 charge on the day to cover venue hire and tea/coffee refreshment. 

Lunch will not be provided so either bring your own or join the crowd at the Marine. Liz McGirr is organising with the Marine and if you so choose (other restaurants are available) please let Liz know, as she would like to give the Marine a rough idea of how many will be attending. Obviously we have to pay for our own lunch. Liz’s contact details below.

Although some topics will be similar on both days, they will be at different depths to suit the relevant experience level. Roger is a practical beekeeper, so don’t expect too much science. Much of what he knows has been learnt by observing bees and understanding them. Everything will be suited to our conditions, but there may be some new ideas you can try next year.

The “Beginners” day will cover the “basics” of beekeeping, which many beekeepers of several years standing don’t always understand, so it is suggested that some may wish to come on both days.

Amongst the topics to be discussed :-

  • The life cycles of queens, drones and workers.
  • The colony cycle through the year.
  • Basic disease recognition.
  • Apiary work throughout the year.
  • Dealing with the crop.
  • Ways to improve honey production.
  • Where to get good, sound information.
  • Simple ways to increase colonies.
  • What is happening in a colony when it is preparing to swarm.
  • Simple swarm prevention and control.
  • Basic tools and equipment needed.
  • Observing the colony and acting upon what you see.
  • Preparing for the coming season.
  • Bedding bees down for winter.
  • Colony management techniques.
  • Colony records
  • Colony handling techniques

This is a great opportunity to listen to a beekeeper of over 50 years experience who keeps bees in a similar way to how we do.
Fed Secretary, Pat Shimmin, is taking the bookings so please let Pat know if you with to attend, and which day.
Email address – <pat.shimmin@manx.net>, telephone 814222

Western Secretary, Liz McGirr is organising lunches at the Marine; please let Liz know if you’d like to join
Email address <liz.mcgirr@manx.net>, telephone – 492327




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