Conservation

Tipperary beekeeper Aoife MacGiolla Cuda hopes to create a buzz at craft fair

Honey maker fights to protect native Irish black bee

Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary beekeeper Aoife MacGiolla Cuda  hopes to create a buzz at craft fair

Aoife Mac Giolla Cuda: making honey and protecting the Irish black honey bee

Fourth-generation Tipperary beekeepers, who are part of a drive to save Ireland’s native honey bees from extinction, will be showcased at this weekend’s Cork City Hall Crafts and Design Fair

Aoife Mac Giolla Cuda and her dad Micheál, of Galtee Honey Farm, are committed to promoting the conservation of the native black honey bee of Ireland, and specialise in breeding and rearing queen bees for Irish apiaries.

“We have 170 hives with about 10 on each of 16 sites over a 20-mile radius in the Galtee Vee Valley,” said Aoife who will be exhibiting special Christmas honey gift sets at the Fair. “The area is one of the most important Irish breeding zones for the black bee and is a genetic reserve.”

She warned that as well as pesticides and bio-diversity, the bees biggest threat is the tiny Varroa mite, which lives off the honey bee.

“There are a growing number of beekeepers who are committed to conserving the native black bee, which is almost extinct in most of Europe.

“There now is more awareness of the importance of honeybees than there was 10 years ago,” said Aoife.