The benefits of beekeeping associations
What’s in it for bees and beekeepers?
Promotion, support, connection, education – beekeeping associations do a lot for beekeepers and the industry as a whole. Whether you’re an amateur beekeeper or you’re running a professional honey operation, joining your state association could help you make connections and have an impact on the industry.
Beekeeping associations are different from local bee clubs – in fact, many beekeeping clubs are affiliated with larger state organisations. Associations exist to support beekeepers and the profession, providing education, resources, and input into legislation that affects the industry.
By joining an association, you get access to connections and support, and a chance to have your voice heard.
Beekeeping Associations – the basics
In Australia, most states have their own beekeeping associations – and there are a couple of national associations as well. While most are open to both professional and amateur beekeepers, New South Wales has two state associations – one for hobby or amateur beekeepers only. Most are not-for-profit organisations that provide support to local clubs and individual beekeepers.
Local bee clubs can choose to be affiliated with their state association, or people with no local club can join as individual members. If you join a local affiliated club, you generally get association membership – and the benefits – by default.
Benefits for beekeepers
Like belonging to a beekeeping club, belonging to an association lets you benefit from the knowledge and resources of other beekeepers. Although every association is slightly different, most offer resources and education for members – either free or at a reduced cost.
Here are some of the benefits your local association may offer:
- Regular newsletters or magazines with news and updates about beekeeping in your state
- An annual conference with expert speakers and opportunities to network with other beekeepers
- Classes and field days to help new beekeepers build their skill sets
- Online courses and certifications
- Helplines or online assistance for beekeeping questions
- Swarm collection lines
- Guidance about laws and requirements for beekeepers in your state
Benefits for the industry
Beekeeping associations are not just designed to benefit individual beekeepers – they’re also about promoting beekeeping as a hobby, educating the public about bees, and lobbying for laws that benefit the industry. Some associations – like the Wheen Bee Foundation – are entirely focused on protecting bees through education, lobbying, and research.
Here are some of the way’s beekeeping associations support bees and beekeeping:
- Research – many associations either fund or manage research into bees, beekeeping practices, diseases and treatments, and the spread of pests such as the Small Hive Beetle.
- Lobbying and submissions on laws and regulations that affect bees and beekeeping
- Connections with related industries – some associations are linked to fruit growers and other farmers’ groups, so both sides can share information and resources.
- Raising awareness – many associations make an effort to raise awareness and educate the public about bee-related issues.
- Disease and pest control – because associations have contact details for hundreds or thousands of beekeepers, they can help co-ordinate checks for bee diseases and pests, and share information about new issues if they arise.
Finding an association near you
If you want the benefits of belonging to a beekeeping association, you can either join your local bee group or register as an individual. Look for the association in your home state, so you get region-specific advice and information.
The main Aussie beekeeping associations by state:
- New South Wales Apiarists’ Association– open to both hobby and professional beekeepers in NSW
- Amateur Beekeepers’ Association of NSW– focused on amateur and hobby beekeepers
- Queensland Beekeepers’ Association– one of Australia’s oldest beekeeping associations, founded in 1886
- South Australian Apiarists’ Association– connects and educates amateur and commercial beekeepers in South Australia.
- Victorian Apiarists’ Association– works with beekeepers big and small all over Victoria.
- Western Australia Farmers– this farmers’ association has a beekeepers’ section, representing commercial beekeepers in the state.
- Tasmanian Beekeepers Association– provides support and representation for beekeepers in our smallest state.
Connections and support
Whether you’re a brand-new beekeeper, or an old hand wanting to get more involved in your industry, a beekeeping association is a great place to find resources, support, and connections with other beekeepers.
Want to find out more about beekeeping in Australia?Talk to the team at Ecrotek.