To build this envisioned international coalition — and invite you into it — we’re organizing regular online and occasional in-person events to bring us all together around the theme of free-living honey bees.

Symposia Series
Each quarterly symposium will feature invited guests diving into issues integral to Honey Bee Watch, this year including bee-lining, tree cavities, whether wild honey bees are wild bees too, and communicating and recruiting for citizen science. Speakers will share their experiences and expertise, participate in a panel discussion, then answer your questions. Free and open to all. 
To sign up, select which events you'd like to attend in this online registration form. Sessions will be recorded and videos sent to all registrants.

Honey Bee Watch Café
During interim months, we'll host supplemental gatherings, aka Cafés, whereby guests from around the world can present their free-living honey bee stories. If you'd like to share yours during a 10-min. presentation, fill out this quick application. Free and open to all.
To register, send an email with your full name, location, and which Cafés you'd like to attend to

One-Off Events
Periodically we will organize live events, whereby attendees can visit unique free-living bee sites, participate in hands-on workshops, and/or attend conferences and lectures. Stay tuned for more information.

Symposia Series

#1 — Bee-lining: Modern-day Makeover of an Age-Old Craft 
Thursday, 21 March (17–19h CET // 16–18h GMT // 12–2pm EDT // 9–11am PDT)

Bee-lining involves searching for bees and patiently following foragers back home. While centuries old, this craft’s utility has become less effective in modern times, with dwindling habitat and an explosion of managed apiaries abutting swaths of forests and woodlands. To increase the effectiveness of one’s hunt, researchers have honed their bee-spying and -tracking skills and developed new techniques to reveal where bees live, some of which will be shared with us.

In partnership with the Arboreal Apiculture Salon, this co-presentation will be a continuation of the conversation they started in December 2023 — which we recommend you listen to in advance. Four of their original speakers return to dive deeper into the topic:


Cheyanna is passionate about facilitating dynamic connections between humans, honey bees, and the planet, and is devoted to helping honey bees reclaim their vitality and wild nature by bringing their innate wisdom more deeply into human awareness. She has been studying and working with honey bees since 2010, and in 2021, started at Apis Arborea, helping to manage a research project in the 4,000-acre Galbreath Wildlands Preserve. There, they are bee-lining in search of free-living bees, which they’ll be mapping and monitoring for seven years. Cheyanna lives in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California, where she works closely with her local community, using natural, biodynamic, and rewilding apicultural practices.

Joe has spent 13 years as a non-treatment beekeeper. During those years, he’s given numerous talks on treatment-free beekeeping, contributed to the website, and taught more sustainable, less impactful management practices to local beekeepers, aligning with the bees’ natural propensities, supporting natural selection, and encouraging Varroa resistance. In 2020, he founded the Boughton Estate Honeybee Conservation Project, which aims to observe and preserve free-living honey bees on this 3,000-acre property in Northamptonshire, including retaining habitat within the managed forest areas for the benefit of all cavity-dwelling organisms and in support of the wider ecosystem. X ACCOUNT

Tom is a retired Cornell University professor. For forty years, 1980–2020, he taught courses on animal behavior and conducted research on the behavior, social life, and ecology of honey bees. Besides being a honey bee biologist, he is an avid beekeeper and bee hunter. He began keeping bees as a high school student in the late 1960s. His scientific work is summarized in several books: Honeybee Ecology (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive (1996), Honeybee Democracy (2010), The Lives of Bees (2019), Following the Wild Bees (2019) about bee-lining, and the soon-to-be-released Piping Hot Bees and Boisterous Buzz-Runners (April 2024). CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Michael’s pioneering approach to apiculture and honey bee conservation has appeared in national and international magazines, books, and films. He has presented his work at Harvard University & New York University, consulted for the USDA, and in 2006 founded Gaia Bees to advance biodynamic practices in apiculture. In 2017 he founded Apis Arborea to create new pathways of apiology, promote self-willed ecological processes, and the use of a holistic, system- and science-based framework in working with bees. Michael was born and educated in Germany, and currently lives with his family and an infinity of bees in the oak woodlands of Northern California. APIS ARBOREA

#2 — Tree Cavities: Homes and Biomes for Bees & Other Organisms
Thursday, 20 June (17–19h CEST // 16–18h BST // 11am–1pm EDT // 8–10am PDT)

Studying free-living honey bees often brings researchers deep into forests to monitor colonies in their natural habitat. Observations of tree cavities have revealed interesting findings, including new occupants and/or unexpected co-habitants, such as woodpeckers, owls, squirrels, other insects, fungi, and more. 

What do we know about these dynamically rich nest spaces? What can we learn about interspecies interactions within tree cavities? How can an intersectional, multidisciplinary scientific approach among researchers from varying specialties widen our understanding of free-living bee biology and behavior?

Three experts from different fields explore these themes: 


Kevin is Supervisory Plant Physiologist for the US Forest Service, stationed in Durham, New Hampshire. Educated as a plant pathologist and mycologist, he has actively researched the flow of energy and defense processes in the growth of living trees and wood-decay fungi for more than 40 years, and was a colleague and friend of the pioneering Dr. Alex Shigo. Kevin has published 150+ research and technical papers to better understand topics ranging from tree care to cultural archaeology to air-pollution chemistry. USDA FOREST SERVICE

Mick has a background in forestry and landscape management. He founded and currently runs Boomtreebees Ltd., which aims to create and develop suitable habitat to help with the conservation and rewilding of native Irish honey bees (Apis mellifera mellifera). Besides for carving and installing loghives that mimic tree cavities, Boomtreebees focuses on three other key areas: research, the monitoring of free-living colonies, and education. Mick’s team works alongside universities, government bodies, and other organizations to teach about the importance of honey bees in our environment as well as to safeguard their future, which, he believes, includes proper landscape management. BOOMTREEBEES, INSTAGRAM

Since 2012, Barbara has been working as an Assistant Professor within the Apiculture Division of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, where she conducts research on wild pollinators. She studies mason bees as bioindicators to determine levels of heavy metal pollution in agricultural and urban environments, and has been assessing the abundance and variety of bumblebees in parks and wastelands throughout Warsaw. Since 2018, she has been researching the diversity and richness of fauna that accompany Apis mellifera living in loghives in Polish forests. Additionally, Barbara teaches bee biology, breeding, and conservation, and is a hobby gardener. As a postgraduate student of landscape architecture, she hopes to create unique, sustainable designs that support the biodiversity of plants, pollinators, and other animals. SGGW

#3 — Are Wild Honey Bees Wild Bees Too?

Thursday, 26 September (17–19h CEST // 16–18h BST // 11am–1pm EDT // 8–10am PDT)

It was widely believed that wild-living honey bees went extinct long ago. Even though there’s proof of their existence, some still believe that they’re only feral escapees from managed hives' swarms. In light of these and similar (mis)conceptions, coupled with recent studies positing that managed honey bees compete with wild bees (aka non-Apis mellifera species, often solitary and native), there’s a prevailing opinion that honey bees living on their own may not deserve conservation or even our attention. Although Honey Bee Watch strongly disagrees, we welcome a panel of experts to transparently discuss contemporary (and sometimes controversial) research, past myths, and present realities surrounding “wild honey bees” and their place within natural ecosystems.


#4 — Spreading the Buzz: Communicating and Recruiting for Citizen Science
Thursday, 19 December (17–19h CET // 16–18h GMT // 11am–1pm EST // 8–10am PST)

Citizen Science projects like Honey Bee Watch tap into the public’s interest in and ability to contribute to research that scientists cannot do alone. In our case, we rely on you to help locate and monitor free-living honey bee colonies in order to more comprehensively understand how and why they survive via natural selection. 

Building such a community necessitates organization, coordination, and multiple independent and interconnected regional cells around the world. But how and where to start? How do you get citizens in your area involved? And how do you engage them over extended periods of time?

Three experts share their extensive know-how and experiences establishing, managing, communicating, and recruiting for citizen-science projects:


Alongside a PhD in behavioral ecology, studying ant colonies’ collective patterns, Carolina developed a deep passion for science communications. What surprised her most, though, was how people always found the most amazing details about her research that she had not previously considered, despite spending so much time working on it. 

The realization that science excels when diverse points of view are expressed and explored steered her towards a different path. Currently she serves as a Project Officer at the European Citizen Science Association, working on a variety of topics towards the democratization of science, so that everyone can participate. 

Denise directs pollinator education programming through the Ohio State University Department of Entomology, a position she has held since 2012. In her extension and outreach work, she supports and teaches beekeepers, farmers, gardeners, and others across the state through a variety of workshops, webinars, written materials, and electronic resources. Before coming to Entomology, Denise served for 18 years as agriculture and natural resources county extension educator in the Akron/Canton area of Ohio, with a focus on horticulture, integrated pest management, and environmental education. In addition to chasing bees, she enjoys gardening, cycling, and hiking the towpath trail along the Tuscarawas River with her husband and dogs. OSU BEE LAB

Nathalie is an entomologist, specializing in questions related to honey bee health. Originally from Belgium, she completed a Master in Biology there, before getting a Master Research in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London (UK), then a PhD from University of Maryland Honey Bee Lab in 2017. From 2018 to 2023, she acted as Research Officer for the Bee Informed Partnership — a nonprofit that, through research and extension, supports beekeepers in their effort to keep healthier bees — where she collaborated on the development, implementation, and data analyses of BIP’s monitoring programs and field trials, in particular the annual Loss and Management Survey. Nathalie now works under Dr. Ramesh Sagili as Research Associate at Oregon State University. She’s a self-described R enthusiast and has been beekeeping since 2009. OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY HONEY BEE LAB

The Case for Protocol Standardization: Monitoring (28 June)

This symposium tackled protocols, namely which data points we request citizen scientists and research partners collect when monitoring free-living nests. Intending to become the world’s greatest repository of data on survivors, Honey Bee Watch strives to standardize protocols to a great degree, then share them far and wide in order to ensure parity of data globally. But how do you converge monitoring protocols from projects with different research goals, that have spanned varying time frames, that do or do not involve citizens, and with origins in countries as diverse as Serbia, Ireland, UK, US, and beyond?

Featuring Dr. Jovana Bila Dubaić (University of Belgrade), Dr. Grace McCormack (Galway Honey Bee Research Centre, University of Galway), Filipe Salbany (Blenheim Estate), Prof. Thomas Seeley (Cornell University).

(Note: yellow highlights link to speakers' video presentations on our YouTube channel.)


Sharing Is Caring: Unraveling Data Rights & Sharing (28 September)

Citizen science prioritizes collaboration, with scientists relying on the contributions of individuals, who collect essential data for their research. A simple enough concept, but when you scratch the surface, complexities and nuances are quickly revealed.

As a participating Bee Guardian citizen registering qualifying colonies into Honey Bee Watch, would you willingly share the bees' locations, periodic observational details, your name, contact info? As a researcher 
potentially entering into a global study like ours, what general concerns do you have regarding data rights, data sharing, crediting, publishing, etc.?

Featuring Roger Dammé (Honey Bee Wild), Paolo Fontana (Edmund Mach Foundation), Noa Simón Delso (BeeLife).


"Wild", "Free-Living", "Feral": Definitions for Consistency (13 December)

Honey bees are in a rare category within the animal kingdom, straddling wild and domesticated. In 2014, the IUCN assessed Apis mellifera in Europe, conferring a “data deficient” Red List status due to the difficulty of identifying and discerning wild populations. What defines “wild”? Why is this term so controversial? Does "wild" apply to the colony itself or entire self-sustaining populations too?

If scientists can accept a common definition, will we then be able to accurately reassess their Red List status as well as advance with coordinated conservation efforts internationally? During this talk, our guests talked about the usefulness of standardizing other terms and the benefits of widely distributing such a shared glossary.

Featuring Hannes Bonhoff (Honungsbiföreningen), Patrick Kohl (University of Würzburg), Fabrice Requier (University of Paris-Saclay), Michael Joshin Thiele (Apis Arborea).

Honey Bee Watch Café

During the months in between symposia (excepting July and August), we'll host informal gatherings, whereby you can share real-life experiences with free-living honey bees, whether related to science, personal observations, theory, or practice. These will be free-form "virtual handshake" sessions, a place to hear people's stories, learn about studies around the globe, glean new ideas, make connections, get inspired, and become part of our family of bee experts and enthusiasts. 

Thursday, 23 May (19–20h30 CEST // 18–19h30 BST // 1–2:30pm EDT // 10–11:30am PDT) —  CANCELLED 
Thursday, 24 October (19–20h30 CEST // 18–19h30 BST // 1–2:30pm EDT // 10–11:30am PDT)
Thursday, 21 November (19–20h30 CET // 18–19h30 GMT // 1–2:30pm EST // 10–11:30am PST)

To register, send an email with your full name, location, and which Cafés you'd like to attend to

If you'd like to sign up to give a 10–minute talk, fill out this Google Form application. We'll review applications and pick up to three talks per event. If you have any questions, email Steve Rogenstein at

One-Off Events

A Day at Blenheim Palace & Estate (2 April 2023)

We organized a special tour of Blenheim Estate, Europe's largest and oldest ancient oak woodlands, in search of bees living in trees. Fifty guests from around the world strolled the grounds, stood in the majestic shadows of 1,000-year-old giants, and learned about them and their bee inhabitants from Filipe Salbany and Francis Gilio. 

In less than three years, they have located 76 nest cavities on a small portion of Blenheim's 2,500 acres, a handful of which were espied that day. On an additional adjacent 10,000 acres, they're establishing a Conservation Covenant to protect this unique ecosystem and all the flora and fauna contained within.

Watch the video to learn more. Thanks to COLOSS and Ricola Foundation — Nature & Culture for their financial support.


Project Director: Steve Rogenstein at The Ambeessadors
Science Director: Arrigo Moro at University of Galway

Follow Us


Sign up for our mailing list to receive periodic news, updates, invitations, and more about Honey Bee Watch, bees, and related developments.