One of ABKA's younger members reports on her trip to Slovenia as part of the British Beekeeping Association team at this year's International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB).
The event is a mixture of cultural presentations and competitions, with participants judged on aptitude, attitude and general beekeeping skills including frame/hive assembly, bee-handling, anatomy, honey tasting, and botany for bees along with a written paper. Well done and thank you to Joanna, who was selected as one of just three representatives for England at the event. She wrote us a blog to share her experiences.
Hi, my name is Joanna. I’m 15 years old and a member of Airedale Beekeepers. In the spring, I applied to represent England at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers. After attending a selection day at BBKA headquarters I was successful and selected to be on the team of three.
In July I travelled to Slovenia to take part. The IMYB event was housed in Stična Abbey, a beautiful monastery attached to an incredible church. We were greeted by an impressive opening ceremony with speeches including from the deputy prime minister of Slovenia!
After the event was declared officially open, the competition began. We started with a short exam paper and a tasting of over 60 different types of honey submitted by the different countries. We were also tested on our queen marking ability. Our team tasks included timed assembly of an AZ hive (the traditional Slovenian hive) and assembling frames from scratch under time pressure. We also had to artificially swarm a colony. The tasks were all completed in mixed international teams, so we had to overcome language barriers too!
During our packed stay we also found time to visit the beekeeping headquarters of Slovenia, saw lots of Slovenian bee houses, a cave, treetop adventure park and a beekeeping hotel! All the visits were great fun, and it was incredible to see how much beekeeping is integrated into Slovenian society.
After a busy few days, we gathered together for the closing ceremony and awards. After speeches and thank yous the results were revealed - I was delighted to discover my international team was placed third! We celebrated this amazing result with an evening disco, some traditional music and socialising with our new friends.
Overall, this was an incredible experience/ I learnt loads about different cultures and their beekeeping, made lots of incredible friends and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I am very thankful for all the support I had from ABKA, from my mentor Keith Hebden and from the English IMYB representatives who supported me in this experience.