The Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers 2019 Conference & Honey Show has two stellar speakers lined up for its annual event on October 19, 2019 at the magnificent Oxford Island nature reserve.

If you are anywhere nearby, do try to BEE THERE! 

This is where you will find full details about the Conference.

Dr. Sammy Ramsay from the University of Maryland is the keynote speaker.

His involvement with beekeeping began 22 years ago and is still going strong.

Dr. Ramsay is bringing an exciting development to the table with his latest research. This new perspective potentially reverses decades of scientific dogma about the Varroa mite. As beekeepers know, this mite is the single greatest pest driving honeybee colony loss around the world.

His major groundbreaking study shows that the Varroa mite does not feed on the “blood” of the honey bee but rather on the bee’s fat body tissue, which is an organ like a human liver. This is paradigm-shifting information.

In this 3-minute video he speaks of his disruptive findings:



Knowing this can help scientists develop treatments, even effective pesticides, to help bees cope better with this mite that is known to spread a minimum of five destructive viruses. The discovery holds vast implications for controlling this pest and is the single most exciting discovery in the world of honeybees in recent times.

Dr. Ramsay’s research also explains why the Varroa mites have such a devastating effect on honeybees, and how they weaken bee immune systems. This interferes with bees being able to store enough protein derived from pollen, and makes it harder for them to survive the winter.

Andrew Abrahams is being welcomed back as a valued speaker with important information to share. He has been a commercial beekeeper for 30 years, and is a world-famous Black Bee breeder based in Colonsay, Inner Hebrides. He has wide experience with both queen rearing and honey production, and will speak about both these topics at the conference.

Andrew will also share highlights of his Black Bee experiences on Kangaroo Island, Queensland, Australia as well as in Tasmania.

Colonsay is home to the rarest of the rare: one of Europe’s few populations of pure Black Bees (apis mellifera). This is the UK’s native honey bee, and the 50-60 stocks of Black Bee on Colonsay are a gentle and productive, self-sustaining strain.

These unique bees are not only managed for queen rearing and commercial honey production, they are of great importance to scientists and honeybee groups actively studying bee diseases. Thankfully, the Scottish Government passed an order in 2013 that ensures Colonsay will remain an apis mellifera reserve.

This promises to be an exciting and informative day filled with cutting edge knowledge and above all--hope--for the honeybee. 

If any of our readers attend this Northern Ireland conference, please share your take away with us next week over on our Facebook page!