Publish date: 14/08/2018

The inaugural South Island Bee Conference is to be held in Rangiora next month, featuring speakers from across the country.

The conference, on September 2nd, will host a series of speakers in the morning covering topics such as organic beekeeping, organic varroa treatment, hive nutrition, improving breeding stock and beekeeping on public conservation land. The afternoon will see attendees participating in a range of hands-on workshops.

Organiser and local organic beekeeper Susani Gerbhardt said the conference is an opportunity for anyone who is interested in the environment or in bees to learn and network.

“It is a very difficult time for bees at the moment, and we are all in this together. I really want people to get new ideas, make new friends and network,” Susani said.

“The theory they learn in the morning along with the hands-on workshops in the afternoon will give attendees a lot of new knowledge that they can take back with them and apply to their beekeeping.”

Susani says that beekeeping is a big industry in the North Canterbury region, with over 100 members belonging to two local beekeeping clubs, as well as a large number of commercial beekeepers.

With significant interest in the inaugural event, Susani is already making plans for a larger event next year and the possibility of collaborating with bee experts in her homeland of Germany.

“I’m in touch with Dr. Otto Boecking – a prominent senior scientist and beekeeper at the Bee Institute in Germany and he is very keen to attend our conference next year.

“Dr Boecking trains apprentice beekeepers and when they finish their training he encourages them to go out into the world and explore what other countries do. He has asked me if I would have an opportunity to get some places for these apprentices in our region. They are ahead of us, in Germany, in terms of beekeeping so we could all benefit from this arrangement.”

Tickets for the South Island Bee Conference are available now from the conference website: www.aabees.co.nz/conference.