In this section you will find different topics related to honey bees and beekeeping. Explore the natural habitat and behavior of honey bees, including their highly structured colonies and their crucial role in pollinating plants. The history of beekeeping, from the ancient Egyptians to modern-day practices is covered in the next section.

Then there is guidance on what to do if you encounter a swarm of bees on your property, and cover bee health and disease testing. Lastly covered are safety measures for beekeepers, including the importance of having a First Aid Kit on hand.

The Honey Bee

An Introduction, by Alan Forskitt, Three Counties BKA

​Honey bees, along with wasps and ants, live in highly structured colonies where the inhabitants are, in the case of Honey Bees, all sisters, and brothers, from a single queen bee. Within the colony, the inhabitants have changing roles throughout their lifetime and the generations usually overlap. This is known as eusocial behaviour which enables the colony to survive and adapt as a completely functioning and highly complex unit or organism which is controlled by combinations of sound, vibrations, smells, and touching.

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Beginning with Bees

by Alan Forskitt, Three Counties BKA

Beekeeping, or apiculture, is the management of bees in manmade hives by a beekeeper, or apiarist. These modern hives may be dismantled to allow the bees to be inspected for progress, disease and to harvest honey and other hive products without destroying the hive. Honey bees can be kept in urban or rural areas and a collection of hives in one place is called an apiary. 

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I need help with Bees!

If you have discovered a swarm of bees living on your property, first, don’t panic. Help is not far away. 

Beekeepers across the country will relocate swarms reported by members of the public. We can usually help the same day when it comes to swarms of bees (large clumps of bees numbering in the 1000s). In situations where bees have already taken up residence on your property, such as on the roof, suitable assistance can take longer to locate. 

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All Ireland Pollinator Plan

A huge part of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is to track whether or not it’s working. We’ll track progress with the 81 actions themselves. We’ll also use our new mapping system ‘Actions for Pollinators’ to track what food, shelter, and safety are being created around the island. Don’t forget to let us know if you are helping!

Most important of all is to track changes in the pollinators themselves. Bumblebees will be through the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme which is already going strong and will hopefully continue to grow in the coming years.

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Safety & Medical

First Aid Kit 

It is good practice to always have a First Aid Kit available when going to the apiary. The items this should contain can be found at the bottom of this page.


If stung immediately scrape across the sting with a fingernail or hive tool. Squeezing or trying to pick it out will make it much worse. The quicker you are the less serious will be the sting. Apply antihistamine cream immediately.

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Trees for Bees

Each spring, the IBAclg in conjunction with Coillte, organise the free distribution of pollinator friendly sapling trees for our affiliate beekeeping associations &  other interested groups. 

In 2021, the IBAclg will distribute over 4000 trees across Ireland. The 2021 scheme has now closed.

The 2022 program will take new orders from December 2021 onwards. 

DAFM Grants 2021

Notice From DAFM

Bee Health

Testing for disease in bees is now free in Ireland. For more information about how to get samples tested, check out the Disease Diagnostics page.

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Asian Hornet Guidance

The aim is to provide you with easy access to information should you think you have sighted an Asian Hornet in Ireland and some guidance on what to do.

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Honey & Labelling

On this page is everything you would want to know about honey labelling requirements, getting barcodes and the IBA Tamper Proof Label.

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