PODCAST EPISODE 67: Trevor Weatherhead, beekeeper and chair of the AHBIC, Peak Crossing, Queensland
As a baby of the 1970s, I have a sense of nostalgia and fondness for that era. The social change, the focus on environmental issues, the passion that people had for protesting for a more liberated and conscious society – not to mention the fashion! I often send my mind back to imagine what it would have been like to be a beekeeper at that time, and my dream is idyllic. While we have the unbelievable privilege of living in a time where bees are finally getting the attention they deserve, I imagine it would have been exciting to be around in the 1970s, when people were really starting to think about the connections between plants, animals, chemicals and human wellbeing, with every new realisation being an exciting revelation. For that reason, I am thrilled to introduce you to a very learned, passionate and devoted human being who started his beekeeping career over 40 years ago and continues to honour bees and their contribution to saving the planet – please welcome Trevor Weatherhead, beekeeper and chair of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) for episode 67 of the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast.
As mentioned, Trevor’s love of bees and beekeeping dates back some time; he bought his first beehive in 1972 and has been addicted to beekeeping since! He then became a commercial beekeeper in 1978 – which is the same year I was born, 42 huge years ago! Trevor then worked as a commercial beekeeper for 24 years, breeding up to 5000 queens per week in the busy season. Due to the physical nature of bees, Trevor retired from the beekeeping game due to back issues; however, he is still very active in the bee community – every bee-related conference or expo or symposium around the globe, Trevor is there! And not alone – with his amazing wife, Marion. Part of Trevor’s ongoing commitment to the world of bees and contribution to the beekeeping community is being the chair of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) – a fantastic organisation helping the beekeeping industry in a multitude of ways, including (but my no means limited to) various training and education programs ranging from beginner level to professional certifications; advising and implementing a National Bee Biosecurity Plan; and providing beekeepers and others working in industry with informative newsletters and reports. At present, one of the many issues the AHBIC are tackling is the importation of beeswax from overseas; of the six samples that were imported, all of them contained paraffin wax! In Australia, we have the best beeswax in the world, so to learn that imported beeswax contains non-beeswax products is a reminder of the unethical production processes that continue to mislead consumers today. I tell you what, I never hesitate to support the AHBIC however I can and encourage anyone able to donate to dig deep and provide this incredible organisation with the support they wholeheartedly deserve.
Tune in to hear Trevor and I talk about beekeeping from the 1970s to now, ways of supporting Australian beekeeping, and the great work being carried out at the AHBIC.