A south west Donegal company is a hive of activity at this time of year making beehives and equipment for Irish beekeepers.
This Friday 20th May is a special day for Donegal Bees in Glencolmcille as they celebrate World Bee Day. The company promotes and supports hobby and professional beekeepers to keep the sector alive.
Because without bees, the world’s food supply is at risk. Food production is dependent on pollination, and honeybees are responsible for about 80% of the world’s pollination.
Donegal Bees, founded in 2013 by Thomas Ellis and later joined by Áine Curran in 2015, aims to make beekeeping affordable for everyone to sustain the culture in Ireland. Thomas and Áine are both passionate about our environment and bees; especially the Native Irish Black Bee.
Áine said: “Ireland has a vibrant and growing beekeeping sector. One of the main objectives of Donegal Bees is to make beekeeping equipment affordable and attainable for everyone. We also encourage those who are unable to keep bees to make their outdoor spaces bee-friendly; by providing bee hotels for nesting, and planting flowers for them to feed from.”
“It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of bees in our ecosystem. As far as important species go, bees are near the top of the list. We need bees. They are vital to the ecosystem as they provide wild plant growth, pollination, food source, biodiversity and wildlife habitats.”
This week, they are inviting everyone to celebrate together, raise awareness and do something good for bees.
Donegal Bees has seen a surge in interest during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 as people went back to nature and sought reasons to get outdoor. Beekeeping is an isolated hobby that is rewarding, yields valuable produce, helps the local environment and promotes mindfulness and positive mental wellbeing. Beekeepers can make their own honey, propolis, wax, royal jelly and even honey wine/mead.
To spread awareness and encourage young people to take up beekeeping, there is a collection of child-friendly products on www.donegalbees.ie
Áine said: “Education of the next generation is vitally important to the welfare of our bees. Teaching young people about the importance of bees and getting them involved in their conservation will help in securing their future. The Donegal Bees Family Pack is an interactive, educational pack that will encourage the whole family to not fear bees and create a home for them in the garden.”
Donegal Bees is running a giveaway of a beginner-orientated Hive Starter Kit and offering free shipping for beginner beekeepers to encourage people to pick up the beekeeping hobby.
Áine said: “We will also be sharing Fun Bee Facts on our social media and sharing why they need to be protected, as well as new product launches, promotions, and much, much more.”
“There was a buzz of excitement here in Glencolumcille the last few weeks thanks to Hollywood star. Actors Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds were in the area filming their new blockbuster movie In The Land of Saints and Sinners. To thank the production for we put together some gift packs that we hope the cast and crew will enjoy! Actress Sarah Greene was kind enough to share hers on Instagram.”
Every one of us can contribute to the preservation of bees and other pollinators:
- Plant nectar-bearing flowers for decorative purposes on balconies, terraces, and gardens.
- Buy honey and other hive products from your nearest local beekeeper.
- Raise awareness among children and adolescents on the importance of bees and express your support for beekeepers.
- Set up a pollinator farm on your balcony, terrace, or garden; you can either make it yourself or buy at any home furnishings store.
- Preserve old meadows – which feature a more diverse array of flowers – and sow nectar-bearing plants.
- Cut grass on meadows only after the nectar-bearing plants have finished blooming.
- Offer suitable farming locations for the temporary or permanent settlement of bees so that they have suitable pasture; as a consequence, they will pollinate our plants, which will thereby bear more fruit.
- Use pesticides that do not harm bees, and spray them in windless weather, either early in the morning or late at night, when bees withdraw from blossoms.