Walter is our beekeeper at our Free Beekeeping School.
My name is Walter Dendl. I have a fascination for bees and their complex social behaviour. Over the last 100 million years, the evolution of bees has gone hand in hand with the development and the diversity of advanced flowering plants. Without bees our present day flora would look totally different. It is estimated that honey bees are responsible for the pollination of about 1/3 of our food crops, making them one of the smallest creatures to be commercialised by us. Without honey bee pollination we would mostly be eating wind pollinated crops like rice, wheat, corn, missing out on fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, and oranges, There are 20,000 known bee species in the world which are all facing multiple threats, from pesticides and insecticides, from monoculture and overcrowding of hives, to pests and their accompanying diseases. By observing and caring for bees we get an indication of the state of the environment we live in.
I studied beekeeping at MIT (where I’ve also taught beekeeping) and for five years I've been keeping my own bees as well as establishing bees at other sites in Auckland. The bees still continue to teach and amaze me. When I go into my apiary and open a bee hive I have to be fully engaged as the bees seem to be able to respond to my mood. This only adds to the respect I have for the bees. I enjoy passing on the necessary practical skills and knowledge, as well as the passion I have for these incredible insects, while also learning from other people’s stories and experiences.