Working for Prof. Jürgen Tautz / Hobos Project (University Würzburg), his research focuses on the climatic conditions of tree cavities and beehives, and the effects on bee health. Additionally he is an expert on the symbiotic relationship between book scorpions and honeybees. He proved that book scorpions feed i.a. on varroa mites and beetle larvae (such as small hive beetle). Furthermore he is exploring the effects of beekeeping on the grooming behavior of bees.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Progressive Beekeeping

There are three topics that Torben will cover :


1. The microclimatic circumstances in tree cavities and modern hives and its effects on bee health

2. The pseudoscorpions as bio agents and bio indicators for a healthy and stable ecosystem

3. The effects of modern beekeeping / harvesting honey on the grooming behavior of honeybees

Torben Schiffer

Johannes Wirz is a molecular biologist on the staff of the Research Laboratory at the Goetheanum, Switzerland. He edits the journal Elemente der Naturwissenschaft, and  is a co-founder of Ifgene, a scholarly network exploring the implications of genetic engineering. He is a board member of  Mellifera e.V. where his efforts are directed at developing criteria for beekeeping that do not include chemical attacks against the varroa mite.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Lessons from the Hive

On my relationship with the bees

I relate to honeybees in three ways: 

First, they are a permanent source of magic and wonder some of which are unraveled by colleagues and friends in the scientific literature.

Second, my hives invite me to learn their language and wisdom from colony to heart. I create moments in my work where I expose myself with devotion and unbiased attention to warmth, odours and humming sound. I admire the warmth flowing out of the entrance hole as symbol of abundance, a gift to nature and man. The odours of a hive recall its entire biography - prominent "letters" tell about the recent forage activities; delicate ones tell stories of the months and years before. Sound: I connect to the heart of the colony in the winter cluster and to the giants of the hives in the summertime - feeling one with them.

Third, I feel connected to the spiritual level of my colonies when I think on the non-violent encounter between flower and forager bee, when I reflect on the fact that the activity of a single bee is service to her yet unborn sisters and that bees are beings of plentifulness - without which the future of nature and man would be at risk.

Johannes Wirz

Conference Chairman, Natural Beekeeping Trust Trustee, Tree Beekeeper and conference web master. As with his bees - Jonathan is never happier high up in a tree.


"Sometimes a man must go alone into the forest and die into its heart, so he can  bring back the forgotten pieces of this world" - The Bright Burning by Daverick Leggett

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Wild Bees, Bees in Trees, Rewilding (Day 2)

Jonathan is currently running two large scale re-wilding projects in 2,000+ acre organic farms in Spain and the UK, each with very different starting points: The first uses the local wild un-managed bees and provides new nesting opportunities where there are few, the second starts with 30 commercially managed hives to see if these bees can be re-wilded back into the forest setting. The talk will cover the highs and lows of each project and the design decisions.

Trustee Natural Beekeeping Trust

Jonathan Powell

Learn more about

the organisers

All content © 2018 The Natural Beekeeping Trust and respective rights holders. Registered Charity Number 1140009.

Conference Logo by Nicole Burke