Our Apiary Chief’s International Travels
August 16, 2013
Apiarist Westervelt Speaks in Canada, Samples Germany’s Beekeeping Industry
State Apiary Chief David Westervelt spent the July 4 weekend at the Ottawa Beekeepers Association conference at Guelph, where he made three presentations. David noted the conference had about three times the usual number of attendees, a fact he attributes to the growing interest in beekeeping among the public, a trend also evident in Florida, where the number of registered beekeepers has just about doubled in the last five years. Canadian beekeepers share the same concerns as their Florida colleagues, he said, including colony collapse disorder and pesticide issues. Ontario has 300,000 registered bee keepers, about the same number as are registered in Florida.
Westervelt also spent time with researchers at the University of Guelph’s Apiary unit, which he describes as “top-notch, probably second only to the University of Florida’s facility. In contrast to UF, where bees can be studied outside year-around, the Canadian researchers only have about four months to devote to outdoor studies; then they move inside into their labs for the balance of the year. Because of the cold winters, Canadian apiary inspectors are employed only part of the year, sometimes in husband-wife teams.
Later in the summer, while vacationing in Europe, Westervelt got a look at Germany’s apiary industry. He visited with a fourth-generation beekeeper whose 1,000-hive operation, although small by Florida standards, is one of the larger such operations in Europe. He also toured a university research facility in Frankfurt and visited with faculty there.