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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dawkins

Science Symposium to Bring Beekeepers and Researchers Together

For those who want to know more about the wide range of research work into the honey bee that is going on around New Zealand, there is one place to get clued up. The 2nd Annual Honey Bee Research Symposium will take place on June 23 in Rotorua, providing researchers an opportunity to present their studies and network, and beekeepers the chance to gain a fuller understanding of the research into their workforce being undertaken.

A year on from the initial symposium, which took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers are excited to bring scientists and beekeepers together in person. The symposium will be held a day prior to Apiculture New Zealand’s national conference at the same venue, Rotorua Energy Events Centre.

“We finally get to have the in-person event which we were hoping to have last year,” co-organiser and Plant and Food Research scientist Dr Ashley Mortensen says.

“A face-to-face event really helps with connectivity and increasing interactions with other attendees during teas and lunch. Following on with three days at the national conference really helps too.”

About 25 people will speak at the event, with topics as broad-ranging as the impact of metal on honey bees, to bee activity patterns in cherry orchards. Among the researchers presenting are Dr Megan Grainger from Waikato University, both Mortensen and Dr Michelle Taylor from Plant and Food Research and Dr Heather Hendrickson’s team of Massey University scientists working on American foulbrood bacteriophages.

Speakers will have 15 minutes to present their work and field questions, with the day-long event broken up into four sessions.

The symposium shapes to be a valuable opportunity for researchers to find common ground, with the hope it can foster collaboration, Mortensen says.

The event might not appeal to all beekeepers, but there are benefits in beekeepers and researchers getting together.

“There are things that are being presented that will have direct application in the hies, but there is also always value for beekeepers in being aware of the type of thinking that is going on in the research community. Also being there to participate in the questions and answers, as well as during the breaks, to have some influence in the research space and provide guidance on what the practical considerations are, which as researchers we may not have thought about,” Mortensen says.

With the symposium programme having only recently been released, organisers are expecting registrations to build in the lead up to the event. However, already they have nearly as many people registered to attend as what logged on to the inaugural symposium last year.

Registration is $30 and includes lunch and both morning and afternoon teas.


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