Irish beekeepers have hailed the new Irish capital city as a bee heaven, despite the threat of a new outbreak.
Humble beekeepers and others gathered at the city’s airport yesterday to mark the beginning of spring in the US and celebrate the arrival of the first of three new hives to be planted in Dublin since January.
In addition to the hive planted in the city, another three hives will be built in a neighbouring town.
The hives have been brought to Dublin from a nearby state farm in New Jersey, and were planted at a cost of about €1 million ($1.8 million).
The Irish honey industry was once booming thanks to the European Union’s honey quota which allows for up to 5 per cent of honey to be exported to the US.
But the US has become increasingly strict on beekeeping practices, and beekeepers fear the spread of the new virus could see a new wave of losses for the industry.
Last week, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it would start issuing quarantine notices to hives imported from the United States.
The agency has said that while it does not ban imported honey, the number of hives being shipped to the country is likely to rise.
However, a recent study by the American Honey Beekeepers Association (AHA) suggested that honey from hives located in Ireland would only be about 3 per cent more likely to be imported than those from other countries.
Honey from homes and barns is also unlikely to be affected, the study found, because it is easier to transport the honey and is not subject to a quarantine regime.
The Irish government has confirmed that the hives are part of the country’s national security strategy, but said the virus is “unlikely to cause any harm”.
“It is a matter of public health and safety,” Health Minister Simon Coveney said at a news conference yesterday.
“We are in contact with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and they have been liaising with us.”
Coveney added that the quarantine notices would not affect honey coming into the country from any other country.
However some Irish honey companies, including The Honey Co-op, have expressed concerns about the health impact of the virus on the country.
“The honey industry is an incredibly important part of our economy and its vital to keeping our economy going,” a spokeswoman for the Honey Co -owned Covenanterhive said.
“There are only so many hours in a day, and there are only one honey bee per hectare in Ireland.”
If it becomes a real threat, we would be forced to close and close and shut.
It’s not going to be the end of the world.
It will just make things worse.
“The spokesperson added that “any decision to close is not one that will be taken lightly” and that “we have been in touch with our Irish partners and they are working hard to try and bring the situation under control”.