Bees Abroad at Apimondia, Chile 2023

Bees Abroad at Apimondia, Chile 2023

September 27, 2023
The Apimondia Congress 2023 Logo. The congress took place in Chile
A photo from the Apimondia 2023 Opening Ceremony in Santiago, Chile

What is Apimondia?

Every two years the world of beekeeping meets alternately in the Southern and Northern hemispheres. The 2023 Congress was hosted in Santiago, Chile. Richard (Bees Abroad Chair of Trustees) and Jane Ridler (Partnership Manager for Uganda) were there to listen, learn and benchmark our organisation with a focus on beekeeping for rural development.

The theme was sustainable beekeeping from the south of the world. 3,800 people attended from 120 countries over 4 days. There were University researchers (honey bees are the most researched of all insects), bee farmers who make their living from beekeeping, hobby beekeepers and, like us, those engaged in beekeeping for rural development.



What Goes On at Apimondia?

From 9am to 6.30pm and with 4 concurrent streams there were 15 minute presentations of research papers, round table regional discussion forums and round table topic discussion forums. And of course it’s a rare opportunity for networking, we made many new friends and good contacts.

The topic subjects were Apitherapy, Beekeeping Technology and Quality, Bee Biology, Bee Health, Pollination and Bee Flora and Beekeeping for Rural Development. Those who are interested in the technical details can read the research Abstracts in Apimondia Abstract Book.

The regions represented were the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Of course there were more attending from South America and particularly Chile.

Jane Ridler of Bees Abroad posing with props at the Apimondia 2023 Congress in Chile

The Beekeeping for Rural Development Round Table

We heard some fascinating stories. Amongst them about an ex-mining community deep in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia USA, one of the very poorest areas in the USA, a women’s group in Ecuador working with stingless bees, a project in Zimbabwe for women and one in Argentina for young people.

Unsurprisingly everyone had shared challenges, particularly project sustainability, managing expectations about donating equipment and making use of indigenous knowledge.

The African Round Table


It was good to be welcomed in truly African style by the leader David Mukomana from Zimbabwe and the moderator Harum Baiya of South Africa. To be expected there was a stark contrast between this and the European Forum bought into very sharp focus by a video of a recent video by Apimondia representatives to Goma in the DRC where thy had visited a refugee camp and clearly been very shocked.

David Mukomana & Harum Baiya at the Aopimondia 2023 Congress in Santiago, Chile

Honey Adulteration research…

The adulteration of honey is a huge issue which is depressing its price and forcing beekeepers out of business worldwide. Honey is the third most adulterated of all our foods. It matters in Africa too because we want our beekeepers to get the best price or their endeavours. We learn about a really exciting project at Aston University in UK which has the potential to enable analysis of samples with a smartphone just by diluting honey with water and analysing the light passing through it “The method uses a spectral “fingerprint” of bio-chemical components in honey and can detect tampering, contaminants, and even the geographical origin of honey based on the presence of native plant chemicals. This method has already been proven effective and can complement existing methods…”. The full Abstract can be found in the Apimondia Abstract Book. 

Congratulations to Tanzania - Apiomodia hosts for 2027

In 2027 Apimondia will be in Africa for the first time. The venue will be Arusha, Tanzania. For now we look forward to Apimondia 2025 in Copenhagen.

A photo from the Apimondia 2023 Opening Ceremony in Santiago, Chile
David Mukomana & Harum Baiya at the Aopimondia 2023 Congress in Santiago, Chile

Charles Butler 400 Anniversary Celebration

Charles Butler 400 Anniversary Celebration

August 30, 2023

400 years of "The Feminine Monarchie"

Bees Abroad was delighted join the Charles Butler 400th Anniversary Bee Fayre Celebration on August 19-20. This special anniversary event of the publication of Butler’s landmark book, “The Feminine Monarchie” in 1623 was held in the beautiful parish church and meadows of Wootton St Lawrence, the pastoral home of Charles Butler. 

The event was magnificently organized by Ken Robson and David Holloway and their team of volunteers. It was a special weekend featuring a great variety of guest speakers and presentations inside the church (including our own Rachel Monger), and in the meadows outside, in the centre of all the stall-holders, there was fantastic walk-through Hive Education Centre designed by beekeepers to tell the “Bee Story” to all ages.  

Charles Butler: The "Father of English Beekeeping"

Charles Butler, known as the “Father of English Beekeeping,” wrote in incredible detail on his patient observations of the hive. His teachings on beekeeping remain an integral part of modern beekeeping to this day. Butler discovered, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, that the bees had a Queen … and not a king. In the hierarchy of the hive, in the geometry of the honeycomb and in the sounds of the bees, his observations showed how bees and music reveal an incredible order in nature.

It was a rare and special treat to hear the Melissomelos Bee Madrigral of Charles Butler performed in his church 400 years later by Stile Antico, an internationally acclaimed early music vocal ensemble!  

Thanksgiving Service and Meaningful Messages

A highlight of the event was a special Thanksgiving Service on Sunday morning. During this service, a splendid message from our Patron, Archbishop Justin Welby was shared, which captured the heart of the weekend celebrations perfectly and was hugely encouraging for us as Bees Abroad.

The service led by Revd Ben Kautzer and creatively themed around bees and in honour of Butler’s legacy, was a fitting celebration and a reminder to us all of the bigger picture of what it means to care for one another and our world.

Bee Fayre and Bees Abroad community celebrations

The Fayre brought together local communities, young and old alike, with beekeepers sharing their knowledge along with stories and crafts and plenty of family fun. Our Bees Abroad volunteers (Richard and Jane, Neil and Kath, the Monger family and Betty Buckland) welcomed many people to our stall and were able to share about the amazing beekeepers we are working with in our projects. It was exciting to share our African Honey Tasting with so many keen tasters! We were able to raise funds in donations and sales as well as promote Hive Twinning with the many beekeepers that were eager to “Bee part of the story” with us. 

Bees Abroad is a beneficiary of the Anniversary Celebrations, and we are extremely grateful to the Charles Butler Foundation for their generosity, and we look forward to collaborating on more events in the future.

For more information visit  

A beautiful commemorative book on the legacy of Charles Butler compiled and published by the Basingstoke Beekeepers Association. Available here for purchase.