A bunch of us Backwards Beekeepers migrated to Oracle, Arizona for the 4th annual Organic Beekeeping Conference, organized by the incredible and one-of-a-kind Dee Lusby. She is a force of nature with a passion for treatment-free beekeeping. The event started out with a swarm arriving on the grounds of the conference, an auspicious sign. Of course, someone had a top bar hive in the back of their car ready for the bee rescue.
At the conference we had the opportunity to meet up with beekeepers at all stages. Some were just starting to be beekeepers and didn't have a hive yet; others were commercial people with 100's of hives. There were representatives from the East Coast, West Coast and everywhere in between including Utah, Colorado, Vermont, Arizona, etc. There was even a commercial beekeeper from France!
Kirk had the most laughs from the audience and inspired many to inquire about how to start a group like ours in their city. We saw talks about changes in the government regulation of the "organic" label, apitherapy (the use of bee stings as medical treatment), the Denver Community of Backyard Bee Guardians model, hive building techniques and much more.
There will be another treatment free beekeeping conference coming up in July organized by the authors of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping. Check out the details at their website.