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Co-founder - Free Bees ("Wolne Pszczoły”)

Bartłomiej Maleta

Bartłomiej is a treatment free amateur-backyard beekeeper from Poland. In his apiary he seeks the thin common space between beekeeping and the natural biology of Honey bees. He is co-founder and board member of the Natural Beekeeping Association "Free Bees” ("Wolne Pszczoły”) - An organisation which promotes natural ways of keeping bees.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Progressive Beekeeping

In time of industrial agriculture and Varroa mite, effective and efficient beekeeping without constant usage of toxic or biocidal substances has become very difficult in Poland, if not impossible.

This concerns especially amateur backyard beekeepers, whose loss in apiaries are sometimes impossible to restore from their own resources. That is why Polish amateur beekeepers have founded organization, thanks to which we can not only promote natural beekeeping, but help each other in achieving the goal of treatment free bees. I hope to present some basic information about the ways of cooperating and being a help for each other, we have worked out in our association. I would also like to talk a little closer about our natural selection project - "Fort Knox", which is one of the basis of our partnership and a system of guarantees for one another.

Torben Schiffer

Working for Prof. Jürgen Tautz / Hobos Project (University Würzburg), his research focuses on the climatic conditions of tree cavities and beehives, and the effects on bee health. Additionally he is an expert on the symbiotic relationship between book scorpions and honeybees. He proved that book scorpions feed i.a. on varroa mites and beetle larvae (such as small hive beetle). Furthermore he is exploring the effects of beekeeping on the grooming behavior of bees.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Progressive Beekeeping

There are three topics that Torben will cover :


1. The microclimatic circumstances in tree cavities and modern hives and its effects on bee health

2. The pseudoscorpions as bio agents and bio indicators for a healthy and stable ecosystem

3. The effects of modern beekeeping / harvesting honey on the grooming behavior of honeybees

Co-founder - Free the Bees

André Wermelinger

André a specialist in natural organic beekeeping, and course instructor. Founding president of FREETHEBEES Switzerland. Co-founder of Tree Beekeeping International. André's passion lies in the continuous improvement of sustainable processes. In the past honey yield was of primary importance, however today the focus of attention needs to be oriented towards pollination, biodiversity and the long-term preservation of the honey bee species, Apis mellifera

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Progressive Beekeeping

Despite the fact that science and practitioners confirm the ability of the honeybee to live healthily even with the varroa mite, Swiss beekeepers continue to routinely treat their bees with organic acids, thus circumventing natural selection, and despite known and well documented collateral damages.

New parasites, such as the small hive beetle or the Asiatic hornet are just on the way to gain ground in Switzerland and Germany. It is certain that there will also be new viruses, new bacteria and new fungi in the not so distant future. It will become more and more difficult to cope with all those threats on a chemical basis.

So, why not just let nature do the work? Let's reinstall natural selection; the ONLY way of having locally adapted bees to whatever problems our bees might face in the future. More than 30 millions of years have proven the powerful natural principal.

Not treating all our bees from one day to another could lead into a mess and serious problems in pollination, at least for a period of transition. Therefore, we need to initiate this phase strategically. The vision, where we want to go, is clear. We have worked the concepts to go. The solution can only be achieved, when we start joining our forces and work together. Like the bees: every single individual is just working on the behalf of its colony. 


Matthias Wucherer

Matthias Wucherer is a biologist and graduated in evolutionary ecology on glowing fishes. After becoming a beekeeper, he started his career in a multi-national corporation investigating effects of pesticides produced by all major companies in the industry. His great concerns about the ways of modern agriculture led him to become head of the „Blooming Landscapes Network“ (Netzwerk Blühende Landschaft), where he is dedicated to change our land use in favour of biodiversity and healthy populations of pollinating insects.

Description of our Initiative:

The Blooming Landscapes Network is based on regional groups of activists, who are dedicated to increase numbers and diversity of flowering plants in all areas: rural and urban, private gardens as as well as public areas, in crop-farming as well as in grasslands and forestries. Cooperations include hundreds of small initiatives like flowers in kindergardens up to guiding global grocery trade companies towards more sustainability. Currently, the most prominent project is called the „Bee’s Realm of Flowers“, where a network of 100 ha  blooming insect paradise areas (2018) is created based on citizen sponsorship.

Shirley Vaughan

For more than 30 years, Shirley has been quietly converting some of San Francisco’s finest rooftops, courtyards, and balconies to pesticide-free zones, creating habitat with diverse and chemical-free food for pollinators.  She and her team of horticultural professionals have learned over time how to create organic, mostly native gardens in impossibly small containers within the hardscape.  All this in the shadows of a canyon of high rises,  about as far as you can get from a wild and natural setting.

The corporate world has an exacting visual aesthetic and design standard, which doesn’t lend itself to natives very easily.  Creating pollinator-friendly habitat that meets those standards has developed after years of experimentation.  For example, natives with aggressive roots are taken out periodically, and donated to non-profits and schools.  Pollinator-friendly plants are also rotated out seasonally, to extend the bloom period and availability of food.  And vermicomposting in the basement of a 48-story building creates the compost tea which is key to restoring the nutrients and biology that don’t exist in containerized plantings.

Tens of thousands of people experience her gardens every day along the cable car run on California Street. The educational aspect of that exposure is very satisfying to Shirley, and seeing the joy it brings to people to see all the life that is attracted to them.  Honeybees, native bees, birds, butterflies and more, prove if you build it, they will come.

Johannes Wirz

Johannes Wirz is a molecular biologist on the staff of the Research Laboratory at the Goetheanum, Switzerland. He edits the journal Elemente der Naturwissenschaft, and  is a co-founder of Ifgene, a scholarly network exploring the implications of genetic engineering. He is a board member of  Mellifera e.V. where his efforts are directed at developing criteria for beekeeping that do not include chemical attacks against the varroa mite.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Lessons from the Hive

On my relationship with the bees

I relate to honeybees in three ways: 

First, they are a permanent source of magic and wonder some of which are unraveled by colleagues and friends in the scientific literature.

Second, my hives invite me to learn their language and wisdom from colony to heart. I create moments in my work where I expose myself with devotion and unbiased attention to warmth, odours and humming sound. I admire the warmth flowing out of the entrance hole as symbol of abundance, a gift to nature and man. The odours of a hive recall its entire biography - prominent "letters" tell about the recent forage activities; delicate ones tell stories of the months and years before. Sound: I connect to the heart of the colony in the winter cluster and to the giants of the hives in the summertime - feeling one with them.

Third, I feel connected to the spiritual level of my colonies when I think on the non-violent encounter between flower and forager bee, when I reflect on the fact that the activity of a single bee is service to her yet unborn sisters and that bees are beings of plentifulness - without which the future of nature and man would be at risk.

Michael Joshin Thiele

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Jaap Molenaar

Jaap Molenaar is chairman of the Bee-foundation, which is a Dutch foundation whom represents the interests of honey - and wild bees in the Netherlands.

Co-founder Bee Time

Jorge Gallardo

Creator and researcher in the field of performing arts and co-founder of BeeTime, a residential program for artistic research, based in Southern Andalusia, Spain. 

BeeTime creates spaces to develop creative thought processes and socio-ecological art practices inspired by the honeybee.  Artists from all discipline as well as researchers from fields such as systems thinking, humanities, social sciences and deep ecology are invited to learn about a bee-centered approach to beekeeping, and a regenerative approach to the landscape.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

The Beehive Metaphor

In certain social art experiences, both the idea of the sublime associated with the work of art and the very instance of authorship are suspended. What becomes "valuable" is proximity and the ability to link environments and inhabitants, forming centres of collective experimentation linked to a particular locality. If artistic practice is related to nature and ecology, the values by which the quality of art is measured can be radically altered. This is the case of the Bee Time Artist Residencies, conceived as contexts for research, creation and exchange between natural beekeepers and artists. Social art progressively seeks the contact between artistic practice and everyday life (rural, usual) trying to break down the state of exception posed by the artistic work. Permanence, intimacy and proximity replace the terms of beauty and virtuosity, classically associated with the work of art and its realization.

Cher Haurova

Cher Haurova and the Bees Tree Good organisation are creating stunning natural living spaces for honeybees in the middle of Frankfurt.

Nil Ilkbasaran

Nil works to inspire people of diverse age groups and disciplines on the reciprocity between bees, humans and nature. 

She is the co-initiator, facililator and collaborative artist in the participatory project "For the Love of Bee!". Realized through a series of workshops across Turkey, this project aims to pass on the wisdom of nature and the world of honeybees as a source of inspiration for the creative expressions of participants.

Founder Honey Highway

Deborah Post

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Learn more about

the organisers

All content © 2018 The Natural Beekeeping Trust and respective rights holders. Registered Charity Number 1140009.

Conference Logo by Nicole Burke

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