Local Gardaí are investigating two cases of recent theft involving three colonies of bees from the Research Apiary located at Teagasc Oak Park. These colonies are part of the National Apiculture Research Programme which is a joint project involving Teagasc and University of Limerick, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The research being conducted is on the control of pests and diseases in bee colonies
The thefts are causing a dilemma for the researchers. While it is accepted that colonies of bees have a value, these colonies are part of a national research programme on colony losses. Hence, when one of these colonies is stolen, the information from that hive is now lost to the research programme. In order to get meaningful results for the tests, the different treatments must be applied to a number of different colonies. When a colony is stolen, this information for that group of treatments is lost. Irish beekeepers are depending on the successful outcomes of this research programme.
Different treatments are being tested in different colonies. Some of these treatments are not yet generally available to the general beekeeper. Because of this it is possible that residues might be in the honey from these hives and these have not been tested yet.
For these reasons, the researcher, Dr Mary Coffey, appeals to the general public to co-operate in the search for the return of the missing colonies.