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Bee Health on World Bee Day

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett visited the DAFM Bee Health laboratory today at the Backweston Campus in Co Kildare as part of the celebrations of World Bee Day today 20 May 2021. The Department provides a bee health service, free of charge, facilitating the early detection of pests and pathogens which is key to maintaining healthy stock of bees in Ireland.

The Minister stated,

“I am delighted to be here today for World Bee Day to see the important work that DAFM undertakes to support our bees and our beekeepers. DAFM’s free bee health diagnostic service is an important part of the supports that are in place for bee health. This service works in conjunction with the Department’s research programme into pathogens and pests that affect the health of Ireland’s honeybee population.”

DAFM’s Bee Health service also operates the Sentinel Apiary Programme along with volunteer beekeepers throughout Ireland. The aim of the programme is to ensure the early detection of three exotic pests, Small Hive beetle (SHB), Tropilaelaps spp and the Asian Hornet.

The Minister added,

“World Bee Day highlights the vital role that bees play in pollination and the hard work and dedication of Ireland’s beekeepers in maintaining bee health. Bees are also an essential component of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan and it is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution they make.”

DAFM’s Free Bee Health diagnostic service is in addition to other initiatives including annual grants to the Irish National Beekeepers Federations to help their associated members pursue the craft of beekeeping, to support the purchase of bees and to inform the general public about the environmental role that bees play in maintaining Irish biodiversity and crop production.

Anyone interested in beekeeping can contact either FIBKA at https://irishbeekeeping.ie/ or the IBA clg at [external-link www.irishbeekeppersassociation.com | www.irishbeekeppersassociation.com ]

Further information on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s support for Irish beekeepers including the National Apiculture Programme and pollinators are available at www.gov.ie/en/publication/9e1ff-beekeeping-honey/#national-apiculture-programme

DAFM Pollinator Network led by departmental staff and helps to connect DAFM with other departments and agencies, researchers, stakeholders, the farming community and the general public.

The objectives of the network are to:

• Inform policy decisions, ensuring decisions are evidence-based

• Provide guidance and support and collaborate with researchers and institutions to better target research and innovation activities

• Provide input into the design, development, raising awareness and communication of agricultural strategies, schemes and pollinators

• Provide a platform for the internal and external sharing of knowledge and expertise; maximising expertise, time, and pooling resources

• Facilitate communication, engagement and outreach activities and actions with the agricultural and environmental community and the public, building and strengthening our relationships and our collective knowledge and efforts

Further details regarding the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan are available at https://pollinators.ie/

The department have also funded a number of projects to carry out research on Bees under the Genetic Resources Grant Aid Scheme (GRGAS). This Scheme has an annual call for projects aimed at supporting the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture. Projects funded have included studies on the native Irish honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera and bumblebees are available at www.gov.ie/en/publication/9e1ff-beekeeping-honey/

For more information about the native Irish honey bee please visit the Native Irish Honey Bee Society http:nihbs.org/ and www.gov.ie/en/publication/9e1ff-beekeeping-honey/#the-native-irish-honey-bee

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