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Learning from the Bees | Berlin 2019 29 August–1 September Kühlhaus Berlin

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As the world hurtles towards widespread environmental degradation, glimmers of golden hope fly in the air. Bees. Although suffering from myriad human-imposed stressors, indicators show that wild honey bees (in comparison to managed colonies), are succeeding in nature.

From these examples we can learn much about what the species as a whole needs to survive — and thrive —and subsequently what we can learn from them to improve our understanding of Nature and how our current practices can be harmful.

Learning from the Bees | Berlin 2019 is dedicated to the bee and strives to spark cross-disciplinary dialogue among beekeepers, farmers, foresters, and others. Its mission is to bridge differences in ideology and practice and come together, unified by bees, to brainstorm alternatives to failing systems and help shape the future of beekeeping and environmental stewardship.
The international conference (31 August & 1 September) will feature keynote presentations, panel discussions, and audience-participatory breakout sessions that address politically sensitive issues, such as rewilding bees in trees, pesticide control, ecosystem regeneration, and activism. Speed BEE Talks showcase several innovative projects, while an art exhibition and ancillary activities supplement the program.

A selection from the conference program includes (while others are being added):

  • Renowned bee scientist and researcher Prof. Thomas D. Seeley (Cornell University, USA) focuses on wild bees and what we can learn from their natural behaviours.
  • One of the “godfathers” of Zeidlerei, Dr. Przemysław Nawrocki (WWF, PL) presents: Return of Tree Beekeeping. Searching for a New Place for Honey Bees in Forests.
  • Three titan activist defenders of the environment — Thomas Radetzki (Aurelia Stiftung, DE), Markus Imhoof (More Than Honey, DE), and Prof. Dr. Randolf Menzel (Freie Universität Berlin) — join forces in a panel discussing industrial farming; pesticide use and control; their detrimental effect on bees, soil, waterways, humans; and where we’re headed in the near future.
  • Dr. Johannes Wirz (Gotheanum, CH) and Albert Muller (BD Imkers, NL) lead a breakout session about Goethean science and its influence on biodynamic beekeeping.
  • Heidi Herrmann (Natural Beekeeping Trust, UK) curates and moderates two panel discussions, one featuring German Zeidlers in conversation — Sabine Bergmann (Sa Bienen Imkerei), Antonio Gurliaccio (BIENENBOTSCHAFT), and Norbert Poeplau (Mellifera e.V.) — and another at the end of Sunday, featuring conference reflections, highlights, topline takeaways, and trends.
  • Speed BEE Talks. Invited guests and a handful of applicants chosen from among conference attendees have five minutes each to present innovative projects, intriguing trends

Preceding the conference is an intensive, two-day workshop on Zeidlerei, the centuries-old tree-beekeeping tradition, largely preserved in East Europe. Under the guidance of Polish and German Zeidlers, participants will learn the craft: its history, how to carve and install log hives, both traditional and modern tree-climbing techniques (weather permitting), safety precautions, tool maintenance, and more. (Limited to 60 participants.)

The conference will be held in English and German. The early-bird discount expires on 21 June.

For more information go to

Learning from the Bees | Berlin 2019 is organized by members of Mellifera Berlin and The Ambeessadors, and is so far supported by Mellifera e.V., The Natural Beekeeping Trust, and Aurelia Stiftung, with funding from The Guerrilla Foundation.

Mellifera Berlin, founded in 2013, is the local chapter of Mellifera e.V. Its focus is on ecological and extensive beekeeping: natural honeycomb building, swarming, non-chemical treatments for Varroa, and the use of a variety of hives that are conducive to natural conditions. The group manages an apiary in Prinzessinnengärten, leads training courses for students, and teaches Zeidlerei beekeeping.

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