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Apimondia Conference 2009

The 2009 Apimondia conference took place in the university city of Montpellier in southern France. The theme of the conference was "the bee the sentinel of the environment" and the the world situation with colony losses and the threat to the honeybee was to the fore. The French organisers had certainly set up a very different conference to my only previous experience of apimondia in Dublin in 2005. Aside from a few organisational issues

I thouroughly enjoyed the conference and learned a great deal.There is no way I can really do justice to the dozens of talks I attended, people I met or exhibition stands I visited so I can only give a flavour of the event on this page.
As well as the exhibits in the conference centre itself the organisers had also laid on a free exhibition in the area beside the hall. the marquees were filled with stalls selling honey and hive products as well as information by bee related and other organisations. Some very large (but poorly thought out) observation hives were also there to pull in the crowds. A huge sculpture of a honeybee also attracted interest.

I also liked the blue shipping container with hive installed so that bees flew out the top. This was not an observation hive as such but via a tube fitted at the side visitors were invited to listen and smell the inside of the hive!
I was also impressed with the chap tirelessly demonstrating a hive barrow/lifter that was operated with a couple of cordless drills. He picked up empty hives and trundled them about the plaza area before dropping them again . He did this all day and everyday it seemed. Back in the conference proper speakers from the mediterrean countries spoke of the battle they are having with an invasion of the hornet vespa velutina and the damage it can do to the honey industry.
We also heard a lot about nosema apis and ceranae and the research that is being carried out into helping colonies tackle this fungal pest. Breed resisitant bees and don't subject colonies to stress seemed to be the conclusion of many.

My overall impression of this my second Apimondia conference was of a fairly slick organisation in a bold city centre venue. Some of the organisation fell down a bit but nothing detracted from the experience. The competition for the host for the 2013 conference seemed fierce although it was clear from the outset that the Ukraine had put a lot of effort into its bid for the city of Kiev. Its stand was magnificent ( Ukraine is apparently the "European Honeyland") and the delegates were all dressed in traditional costumes with a small band playing traditional tunes all day everyday.It was no surprise then at the closing ceremony when the Ukraine was successful .