Expanding on the theme, Ronan McGreevy expresses strong views around the lack of support for bee-keeping as an industry in Ireland.
“The honey industry is not subsidised in Ireland and is neglected to my mind. In New Zealand it is a main agricultural activity that is fully supported. Ireland is missing out on producing this liquid gold naturally as it is a worthwhile sector that could be a major export market.
“The fact is, there is money in beekeeping. Commercial bee-keeping is really farming and as with farming in general, you have to be passionate about it to make it work. It is not about clocking in and out as you want. Farmers in Ireland are successful because they work their farms on a 24/7 basis and this is also how bee-keeping should be worked.
“Crucially, the fact we have such a vast array of wild sources of pollen and nectar along our hedgerows and forests as well as from our unique tree varieties such as Blackthorn, Whitethorn, White Clover and Sycamore right down to carpets of Dandelion and wild gorse bushes – means we have all natural rich pickings of top sources of pollen for our bees, that in turn give unique honey.”
Happily, bee-keeping - on a hobby basis at least, is attracting a surge of interest, according to McGreevy.
“Traditionally it was seen as an old man's pastime, however younger people are getting into it. People are simply more interested now in where their food source is coming from and as a result, more are becoming bee-keepers.
“I highly recommend it as a pastime because if nothing else, it is highly beneficial to well-being and good mental health as you are working with nature and continuously planning for the year ahead. “You can bee-keep in your garden. An average size garden could hold ten hives. Bees will protect their hive, they won't bother you and won't be bothered by you. You can also place a hive anywhere, from a balcony to a roof-top. They take up very little space – it is just the equipment for rendering honey you need room for.”