About Us

Our Mission

NIHBS was established in November 2012 by a group of beekeepers who wished to support the various strains of the native Irish honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) throughout the country. It is a cross-border organisation, open to all, that consists of members and representatives from all corners of the island of Ireland.

Our Aims

Our Story

The gathering in Portlaoise on Sunday 25th November turned out to be a momentous occasion. It was the inaugural meeting of a society which was to be named on the day – ‘The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (Apis mellifera mellifera)’.  The room was overflowing with people. This very much demonstrated the general desire for its establishment. The number in attendance was just a fraction of those around the country interested in the formation of this organisation. The society urges those interested, to join – whether they are a member of a local bee breeding group, an individual beekeeper interested in breeding or just someone with an interest in conservation of Apis mellifera mellifera. There is power in numbers and it is essential that these numbers demonstrate their support for the various local strains of the Native Irish Honey Bee, (Apis mellifera mellifera) which is under threat and always will be under threat due to potential importations from around the world. This is also the position in a few other regions in Europe which still retain their own strains of Apis mellifera mellifera. The society is open to all – whether they are a member of a beekeeping association or not. It is also an All-Ireland society – open to beekeepers from North and South. The society looks forward to continuing good relationships with other national and international beekeeping organisations including FIBKA, IBA, UBKA, INIB, BIBBA, SNHBS, SICAMM etc., etc.,

Our Achievements

NIHBS are deeply involved in the continuous education of our own members and Irish beekeepers in general in the theory and practice of honey bee improvement and queen rearing through lectures, literature, seminars and workshops.  Prior to Covid, Bee Improvement workshops were regularly held throughout the country and hopefully will be again.  Members regularly give their time encouraging beekeepers, assisting beginners and sharing their knowledge freely.
We participate in research to assess and study grooming and hygienic behaviour with regards to selecting Varroa resistant strains for propagation.
We are now monitoring and recording the incidence of other sub species of honey bees that are being imported all over Ireland, including into our voluntary conservation areas.
Thank you to all volunteers for the amazing work done and huge amounts of time dedicated to Native Irish Honey Bees Protection. 
Some achievements since inception include:-
  • In 2013, regular monthly physical meetings were held to set up the organisation
  • Meetings then moved online, saving time and the cost of hiring hotel rooms etc.
  • Annual meetings with BIBBA and other beekeeping organisations
  • The Four Seasons/Ceithre Ráithe na Bliana, our full colour quarterly magazine published and distributed every quarter
  • Encouragement of all members to write articles for the Four Seasons creating inclusiveness especially for new members
  • Ongoing fund raising used for scientific research
  • Scientific paper published ‘A significant pure population of the dark European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) remains in Ireland 
  • List of NIHBS suppliers created, published on the web and in The Four Seasons
  • Voluntary Conservation Areas expanded
  • Native Irish Honey Bee Labels for members honey jars
  • Attending shows, festivals and events with information stands
  • Annual conferences with great national and international speakers
  • Annual Bee Improvement and Queen Rearing workshops held in various parts of the country, continuing the GBBG tradition
  • Annual meetings with DAFM
  • Helping to fund research into the honey bee in the wild, ongoing by NUIG
  • Sets of Information Leaflets and Booklets produced 
  • Organised to host the SICAMM – International conference (deferred due to Covid) 
  • Work started on The Native Irish Honey Bee Book in 2019
  • Munster Seminar and AGM on 8th March 2020 was the last physical get together before Covid closed everything down
  • NUIG Bee treatment survey monitoring varroa levels
  • Queen Rearing Group Scheme (QRGS) initiated as pilot for future years
  • Statement Against Imports supported by all beekeeping organisations in Ireland
  • NIHBS website revamped
  • The Native Irish Honey Bee Book produced. 

Our Future

Since its inception, NIHBS has made significant progress towards achieving its ultimate aims and objectives. We will continue to build on this progress through promoting the conservation, study and improvement of the Dark European Honey Bee Apis mellifera mellifera in Ireland. This will be carried out through education in the form of bee improvement workshops, conferences, seminars and lectures to Irish beekeepers. We will compliment our aims in education with the continued publication of booklets and leaflets along with our quarterly journal The Four Seasons, Ceithre Ráithe na Bliana

We will support the propagation of the native honey bee and local genetic material through the NIHBS Queenrearing Group Scheme for queen rearing groups and networking with breeders of dark native queens bees. We intend to encourage the continued research into honey bee improvement especially with regard to disease resistance and DNA study. We hope to continue our collaboration with the scientific community in their work of studying all aspects of honey bee behaviour with a view to improving the existing Irish populations of native honey bees.

We will co-operate as far as possible with other like minded beekeeping organisations throughout the island of Ireland. We will continue to engage with the public and media to raise awareness for this important genetic resource and the necessity for its protection from importations of non-native honey bees from other parts of Europe.

Our Team

Officers for 2021. Elected at AGM 13/3/2021

Chairperson: Aoife Nic Giolla Coda, chairperson@nihbs.org
Secretary: Loretta Neary, nihbs.secretary@gmail.com
Vice Chairperson: Gerard Coyne, gerrypcoyne@yahoo.co.uk
Treasurer: Paula Somers-Kennedy, treasurer@nihbs.org
Public Relations Officer: John Thorp, nihbspro@gmail.com
Membership: Aideen Day, nihbs.memberships@gmail.com
Webmaster: Jonathan Getty, webmaster@nihbs.org
Editor of The Four Seasons/Ceithre Ráithe: Thomas Hayden, tom.hayden@ucd.ie
Fundraiser: Pauline Walsh, nihbs.fundraising@gmail.com

Regional Directors

Connacht: Gerard Coyne, gerrypcoyne@yahoo.co.uk
Leinster: John Little, treesandbees.ie@gmail.com
Munster: Aoife Nic Giolla Coda, galteebees@gmail.com
Ulster: Geoffrey Davidson, gmd-glenhead@hotmail.co.uk

Other Committee Members

Connacht: Mary Hyland, marynihbs@gmail.com
Connacht: Sean Osborne, osbornegalway@gmail.com
Leinster: Colm ONeill, colmdoneill@gmail.com
Leinster: John Summerville, svillejohn@gmail.com
Munster: Micheál Mac Giolla Coda, galteehoneyfarm@hotmail.com
Munster: Alan Forskitt, alan.forskitt@gmail.com
Ulster: Liam Murtagh, sixbellshoney@gmail.com

Join NIHBS Today