New and experienced beekeepers alike can benefit from the educational opportunities offered at bee-industry seminars and conferences. Whether you’re in the business of beekeeping or simply enjoy keeping bees on your own city lot, you can learn a lot from bee experts and hands-on beekeeping workshops.
In addition to developing beekeeping skills, learning new techniques and staying up-to-date with the latest research, you’ll have the chance to network with others beekeepers, which is particularly valuable. Some beekeeping conferences also host trade fairs, where you can find just about anything you need to keep your hobby or business going.
Before you commit to a particular beekeeping conference, review the schedule to be sure it offers activities and lectures suited to your skills and goals. If a schedule is not posted on the beekeeping association or hosting group’s website, contact the event organizer for more information.
Some beekeeping workshops or seminars may call for preregistration, which generally requires you to fill out a form and pay an entry fee. Look into this right away, because there may be limited space and entry deadlines. The overall beekeeping conference may also have a separate entry fee.
Because there’s so much to know and learn about beekeeping, seminars and workshops run the gamut of topics. Depending on the beekeeping conference you choose, here are some subjects you may see on the schedule:
- Effects of pesticides on bees
- Producing and marketing honey you harvest
- Creating products from beeswax
- Apitherapy — using the natural products of the bee hive for holistic medicine
- Health and maintenance of bees and hives
- Seasonal bee management
- Natural/organic beekeeping
To get the most out of a beekeeping conference, bring a notepad to take notes in seminars; business cards (if you have them) for networking with other beekeepers; a list of questions you have about beekeeping; and, of course, spending money and a list of items you want to purchase at the trade show.
For more information, review the following list of just a few organizations and conferences that can either help you find a beekeeping network or further your beekeeping knowledge and skills. You can also check our calendar for beekeeping classes and workshops at www.urbanfarmonline.com/calendar.
In addition to the following associations, your city or state may have its own beekeeping organization that can offer educational resources and events:
- American Beekeeping Federation: Works with bee industry stakeholders to ensure the future of the Honey bee by providing resources for beekeepers, hosting conferences and interacting with federal lawmakers.
- American Honey Producers Association: Promotes the interests of honey producers in the U.S. by hosting conventions and providing industry information.
- American Apitherapy Society: Promotes apitherapy, a holistic medicine relying on natural beehive products, for maintaining health and alleviating pain and disability. It hosts regional and international events, provides information on apitherapy and connects apitherapy experts.
- Eastern Apicultural Society of North America, Inc.: Promotes bee culture, the education of beekeepers and excellence in bee research through lectures, workshops, classes and conferences.
Consider signing up for one of these bee-industry conferences:
- North American Beekeeping Conference (hosted by the American Beekeeping Federation)
- American Honey Producers Association Convention
- Eastern Apicultural Society of North America’s Short Course and Conference
- Honey Bee Expo (hosted by the Mid Ohio Valley Beekeepers’ Association)
- Annual Meeting of the Organic Beekeepers Group
- First World Conference on Organic Beekeeping
- The World Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations Apimondia (Sunny Beach, Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria) International
- Symposium on Authenticity and Quality of Bee Products and the Second Honeydew Symposium of the International Honey Commission (Bragança, Portugal)
- The National Honey Show (St. George’s College, Weybridge, Surrey, United Kingdom)