bees for head 8


Shanvaus Apiary Manorhamilton

Connects to the first Irish Nationwide Buckfast Beekeeper's  Association now established in Ireland!
Queen Buckfast 2011 copy

Shanvaus Apiary


Purebred queens ready for introduction selected from
our local strain of Irish Buckfast Bees are available by order.

For details of our strain, method of selection, and terms of business please, contact:
Shanvaus Apiary
 Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim
Tel. 071 9855683    e-mail:

Queen Buckfast 2012 copy
Queen Buckfast 2013 copy
Queen Buckfast 2014 copy


Shanvaus Apiary, situated in the centre of the Five Glens of Leitrim
complies perfectly with the criteria usually referring to an
isolated mating area.

In 1998, when the Varroa mite first appeared in Ireland, the Dep. of Agriculture made an unfortunately unsuccessful attempt to eradicate the parasite. The approximately 340 colonies present at the time in the Sligo/Manorhamilton area were destroyed. Consequently, due to the impossibility of any kind of treatment, all wild colonies of bees died. No hybrids or bees of any race where left and a ban was imposed on beekeeping. The now completely bee-less area could be restocked with bees from Co. Wexford after the ban was lifted in early 1999. Later in the year a German beekeeper gave us six Buckfast queens, which served as the basis of our now well established breeding programme.
Our bees are extremely docile and healthy, completely adjusted to their environment. In combination with our special management (check other pages of this website) brood diseases, typical for a damp area as the British Isles, have been either eradicated or are simply not present in Buckfast bees.

In particular the beginner, a family with children, or a beekeeper with his or her apiary situated in a densely populated area will be satisfied with the specific behaviour of the Buckfast bee. Buckfast bees never attack, rarely sting, and are very quiet on the comb, making it easy to check a hive as thoroughly as individually required at any time of the day and in any weather.

Queen Buckfast 2015 copy
Queen Buckfast 2016 copy

Our latest embedded video shows in real time how to start a full colony of Buckfast bees absolutely painless, extremely bee-friendly and completely relaxed in 10 minutes. This new colony, also known as package bees or ‘artificial swarm’ is supplied after introduction with frames of foundation to be drawn out and enough sugar syrup for the first full week to re-start the wax secretion of older bees and maintain the wax production of the younger bees. Sufficient feeding, even at a time when nectar is available, is absolutely necessary for this important task in order to enable the queen to lay her eggs into disease free comb from the very start.


The traditional Irish way to start keeping bees by purchasing a Nucleus which normally comes with bees, brood, and some stores on five frames with combs of an unknown age (possibly contaminated with spores of diseases and residues of Varroa treatments) frequently ends with disappointment. In most cases the bees at first had to raise their own queen resulting in an overaged weakened hive population with only a slim chance for a successful development into a full-sized colony strong and healthy enough to survive their first winter.
Another popular option appreciated by newcomers is the concept of ‘instant beekeeping’, made possible through contacts to beekeepers offering ‘Hives of Bees’ for sale, in most cases due to retirement or ‘downsizing’. Established colonies in second hand or homemade bee hives which often have been in use for decades by several owners represent a value only for the seller. A pathetic condition of bees and frames in the brood boxes, wax moth damage and mould in the supers as well as damage caused by rodents and dry rot can wait under a layer of freshly applied paint.
An experienced beekeeper will, of course, make use of nuclei to increase stock numbers or replace winter losses and will also be able to decide about accepting or rejecting an offer.
The beginner, however, confronted with problems accumulated for decades maybe disencouraged altogether and abandon beekeeping entirely. The start with an artificial swarm, as we suggest, has proven in almost all cases to be the best solution for beekeeper and bees. 

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