• Patrick Dawkins

Editorial: Beekeepers Should Make the Effort to Help Themselves

You have to feel for Rob and Sabine Harper at Sherrington Honey in the Marlborough Sounds, whose plight is outlined in Floods Leave Lasting Damage. They just clawed their way through a logistical nightmare of a season after a “once in a century” level flood wiped out road access to most of their hives in July last year, only to be hit by a worse fate following another winter deluge which will put their business on the brink.

Apiarist's Advocate editor Patrick Dawkins.

The Harpers are beekeepers who have good excuse for their attention to be on larger concerns, but there have been plenty of industry initiatives floated in this and our August issue which beekeepers would do well to support. I checked in with PhD researcher Jane Pierce to see what uptake was like of her questionnaire regarding beekeeper work habits, which was detailed last month in Researcher Needs Beekeepers to Help Her Help Their Health. Beekeeper response has been very disappointing.

If we want others – such as a physiotherapist trying to improve beekeeper occupational health as Jane is – to make the effort to contribute to our industry, then we have to make some sacrifice (and sometimes it is as little as 30 seconds of your time!) to get the pay-off. That pay-off might not always be immediately apparent, or perhaps not to you directly, but it all helps contribute to an improved industry down the line.

With that in mind, here’s some projects looking for support. Can you help?...

NZ Honey Origin Project

Could this project be a game changer when it comes to marketing our honey? Mark Goodwin thinks so and that’s a pretty good start! They are simply looking for beekeepers to register interest at this stage, so down the line you can consider whether to aid bee collection and/or contribute funding.

Cost to beekeeper: At this stage, $0 and between 30 seconds and one minute of time as you send an email to NZHoneyOrigin@gmail.com to register your interest.

Potential payoff: New Zealand monofloral honeys soar in value and we all retire early…

Meat the Need

This is one that will be easier to back for some than others, but Hannah O’Brien who is floating the concept of the honey industry providing more honey to Kiwis in need is another just looking for people to register their interest. Whether you think you can donate a tonne of honey or just a kg, putting your name on the list to be kept in the loop is not so difficult… Read all about it in Can Apiculture Meet the Need on page 14.

Cost to beekeeper: At this stage, $0 and between 30 seconds and one minute of time as you send an email to hannah@huntandgatherbeeco.com to register your interest.

Potential payoff: New Zealanders who suffer food insecurity get a pot of delicious honey to help relieve the pressure of putting food on the table … and you earn good karma.

Jane Pierce’s Research on Musculoskeletal Disorders

Jane wants to help us better understand the impacts of beekeeping on our health. She’s not a beekeeper, has little connection to the industry, yet is willing to dedicate years of her life to provide research so we, and beekeepers of the future, can lead healthier lives. Our apathy to this sort of work risks putting people like Jane off contributing to our industry. Email bkstudynz@gmail.com to take part.

Cost to beekeeper: $0 and 15 minutes of your time completing a simple questionnaire on your everyday activities.

Potential payoff: Some beekeeper someday retires with their back intact.

Tina Blumenthal’s Apicultural Data Survey

Tina’s research project is detailed in her letter to the editor in this issue. She wants to better understand how beekeepers capture management data, to try and recommend improvements the industry could make. The survey is very simple to answer and took me less than 10 minutes. It can be found at: https://forms.gle/WNmrEgAGRfUhND6X8

Cost to beekeeper: $0 and 10 minutes of your time completing a simple questionnaire on your everyday activities.

Potential payoff: Tina’s research leads to improved management practices which means we can all work more hives each … or less as your preference may be!


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