Your Speakers:


Dara Kilmartin is an Irish hobbyist beekeeper with 10 years’ experience managing 20 colonies in 3 apiaries, suburban Dublin, rural Wexford and on a remote island in Connemara. He was awarded the Certified Federation Lecturer (CFL) qualification of FIBKA in 2016 following exam lectures on Beestings and Bee Vision. Dara is the Bee Health Officer of the County Dublin Beekeepers Association and is an active member of the Native Irish Honey Bee Society. He regularly gives pollen microscopy workshops and bee dissection/disease analysis and has attended most NDB short courses. His day job is as a consultant eye surgeon and retinal specialist at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin. Dara spent 4 years specialist training at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and as a clinician scientist at the University of Aberdeen. Particular beekeeping interests include pollen nutrition effects on bee immunity and comparative bee vision.

Talks by Dara

The Amazing World of Bee Vision

In this fascinating talk Dara will reveal the secrets of how/what honeybees see to carry out their key tasks of efficient flower pollination and nectar gathering by workers, queen spotting by drones, and mating by queens. Discover the complex workings of honeybees’ highly specialized structural and physiological visual features and learn how to fully appreciate the functional importance of bee colour vision and ultraviolet light navigation.

Colony Nutrition

The bee immune system is regarded as relatively basic but is uniquely adapted to the requirements of the colony as a 'super-organism'. Colony nutrition is fundamental to bee health and immunity, allowing colonies to survive major stressors, such as winter, brood rearing and disease, and still be able to thrive with maximum foragers at peak nectar flows. This talk highlights the importance of pollen, both in quantity and quality, in maintaining bee health and discusses the role of pollen traps and feeding. A range of 'bee important' foraging plants and trees are crucial to good bee health and immunity where apiary success means high honey yields and winter survival. Examples will be given for optimum foraging.



Tony Harris NDB, is a bee farmer based on the Moray coast in Scotland where he manages 150 hives for honey production. He also breeds and sells local queens and nuclei. He is a past general secretary of the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA), a Scottish Honey Judge, a BBKA Correspondence Course tutor and a regular contributor to beekeeping publications in Scotland, England, and America. Tony is a Scottish Expert Beemaster and holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping qualification. He teaches beekeeping at the highest level and gives presentations and lectures to community and beekeeping groups on all matters relating to bees, beekeeping, the environment and conservation.

Tony is the driving force behind the ‘Healthy ‘BEES’ (Bee Education in Scotland) Project, a subsidised programme of beekeeping courses aimed at improving honey bee health and securing a sustainable and healthy population of Scottish honey bees. He sought the funding, wrote the courses and is now delivering them throughout Scotland. It is believed to be the first time a co-ordinated programme of intermediate beekeeping courses has been available in Scotland and the support from the beekeeping community has been fantastic.

Talks by Tony

Maximising Your Honey Harvest

Living and keeping bees in north east Scotland, Tony has to use all the skill he can muster to maximise the yield from his production colonies and regularly achieves yield's in excess of 50kg per hive. The challenge for the beekeeper wanting to increase the honey crop is to keep the population of bees at its peak, without the loss of a swarm, for the main nectar flow, whenever that occurs. ‘Easier said than done’ I hear you say! In this talk Tony will share the management techniques he has learned in order to do that and will give plenty of tips on how you can work with the bees and your available forage to gain the maximum honey harvest possible.

Going to the Heather

Heather honey (Ling) is the Rolls Royce of honey and Scottish heather honey is known around the world as being the best (well, we would say that, wouldn’t we?) It attracts premium prices, both in the jar and as a cut comb honey and the extra work involved is worth the effort, for the commercial and hobby beekeeper alike. There is a rich tradition in ‘going to the heather’ in Scotland and in this talk, Tony will look at the history behind it, and tell us how he prepares, transports and manages his heather hives, along with some tips on extraction.