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How come nobody seems to sell Nuc in Ireland?

Busy Bee

I think that peoples winter losses, this years new beekeepers going through the FIBKA preliminary course in Northern Ireland at Greenmount Agricultural College and an overflow of beekeepers from last year that didnt get bees after completing the course has caused a demand that cant be met in Northern Ireland. Most people I know in the associations are sourcing bees in Northern Ireland and have no choice really as there is a ban on importing bees other than Queens with attendant workers. There are quite a few beekeepers from the Republic of Ireland seeking bees in Northern Ireland as well.

Bearing in mind until only a few years ago you could not import cheese, meat, fruit and the like in to Northern Ireland from even the mainland UK it is surprising that DARD even allowed the ban to be relaxed to allow the importation of Queen bees.

I put a few links on to the UBKA policy and the FIBKA policy on bee importations.

Just be carefull where you source a nuc from as I know two beekeepers bought nucs from a supplier importing queens from Slovenia and making nucs up. The supplier had an AFB outbreak last season. My friends bees were destroyed in the DARD followup just weeks after he paid his cash. I know an outbreak can happen anywhere but even worse when you only bought them. The other girl reported a lot of dead bees in the new nuc and didnt get any help from the supplier so she phoned DARD and they confirmed AFB and destroyed the bees all from same supplier.

PM me if you are looking a nuc and I will try and get you the name of a recommended supplier fairly close to you. Three girls from my preliminary class got bees from there they overwintered well and the girls are very happy. I should see them at the next intermediate class.

http://www.ubka.org/Information/Bee_imports/Importing Bees into NI.doc.


What's the situation with your local beekeeping association? Our apiary lost most of its colonies last season so we have been building up stocks to allow us to provide nucs for beginners (but only members of our association). We are requesting that people with stocks help out beginners. Many people I know, including myself, are building up colony numbers to offset losses. I aim to have a base of four hives and a couple of nucs from now on to cover losses. Sorry not to be of much help but last season was really bad and experienced beekeepers (and new ones like me) suffered and are recovering.

What area are you in? I'm on the North coast.
I am in South Antrim area. Are you with Roe Valley BKA? I know that some years ago Mid Antrim BKA ran a mentoring course for young beekeepers and that once you became qualified you would be appointed a mentor who would provide you with a nuc free of charge. In turn and down the line you would then return the favour providing a nuc for a new beekeeper. I relied on being recommended a reputable beekeeper who was selling nucs. I was put in touch my first year with a man who sold me a nuc late on in the year. He told me he was varroa free and of course I had no reason to doubt this and no experience to know any better. After the colony died out and the tests showed severe varroa infestation as the cause I signed up for the preliminary course at Greenmount.

Unfortunately I was given the contact of the supplier who had the AFB outbreak and had given this number to my friend who bought the infected bees. I felt really bad but he didnt blame me as I did tell him it was an unknown supplier and totally down to him. The only good thing to come out of this though was for me to avoid that supplier like the plague. I struck lucky with the new contact I made through the tutor on my course and have been extremely happy with my bees which I had tested and are disease free.

Hearing from members in the two associations that I am in the losses dont seem to be that severe this year. Not the case for your association apiary it seems.
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I'm almost frightened to ask this, as some folk on the forum seem to think that I have a personal vendetta against a nuc seller who imports queens from Slovenia (when I just have irritation with a man who doesn't seem to care whether or not his bees are suitable for certain customers, who is very rude and who seems to deliberately mislead folk on another forum about where his bees comes from).

But, please FrogDogDiver, you said that you have links to two new beekeepers who had colonies either destroyed in the aftermath of an AFB outbreak where the nucs came from, or colonies that actually died of AFB, and that this source of nucs imported his queens from Slovenia.

Someone has to ask this, so it might as well be me: are we talking about the same guy?

For one thing, this information will be crucial for Floyd who, as I understand, had bees supplied from the nuc seller and which died out over-winter. Floyd is probably about to re-stock the hive and surely needs to know if there is a risk that the dead-out contains AFB spores?

best wishes

Yes, RVBKA. Our apiary seems to be doing well this year, but was knocked back badly by last winter. Luckily we have generous members who donated bees so they have put us back on track. Splits are to made and numbers built up again this year.

I had a similar experience with my first hive of bees, also told varroa free. They died out by October! So new bees last year were split into four (three nucs and a hive). Stuffed them with syrup and have been nursing them. It has been an expensive start, there were no nucs available when I started so I've had to buy two hives of bees- and I've had about a dozen jars of honey! Fingers crossed for this season- nice to see the sun this past week, bees are flying well, pollen coming in... better get building frames.
Apparently, so a little birdie tells me, the AFB outbreak was linked to a NI-based vendor of nucs who used queens imported from Slovenia, not the one I wondered about. Apologies for any implications to the contrary.

best wishes

At risk of being contensious here, wouldnt it have been so much better to have done that little bit of research before your original post gavin.
There are i am sure any number of nuc suppliers importing queens from slovenia, your post is at best mischevious and at worst, well draw your own conclusions.

Hi David

The post *was* part of the research the research, and I just asked what I thought was an obvious question. It drew a private message from a source I wouldn't have thought of asking that clarified the matter. Actually I'm still a bit confused as I'm told the queens were imported from Greece, and not Slovenia.

Would you like to clarify what you mean by my post being 'at worst'? I'm simply asking for clarification of an issue that has been a hot topic on this forum as it is elsewhere. As you can see if you read the links given by FrogDogDiver, this is a very contentious issue for those of us in areas where diseases such as AFB are regarded as very rare and problems generally found further south.

all the best

thoughts of close to the wind cross my mind.

Thoughts of legal issues cross my mind too.

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I agree PH. seems like Gavin has some personal vendetta against someone.Who is it Gavin?

Also seems to imply any queens comming from Slovenia may have AFB. I know a defra bee inspector who imports many hundreds of Queens from Slovenia,no problems at all with AFB.Also seems to think that Scotland is disease free,but as in a recent article,there there seems to be a general lack of inspections up north,wonder if we would hear of many cases down south if we had no bee inspectors?
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