Our Apiary Chief’s International Travels

August 16, 2013

Apiarist Westervelt Speaks in Canada, Samples Germany’s Beekeeping Industry


Division of Plant 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.

CBC David

State Apiarist David Westervelt

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.


This carved bee hive near Frankfurt, Germany, is about 150 years old and still houses bees. It portrays Saint Ambrose, patron saint of beekeepers.

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.


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