I have been interested in animals and nature for as long as I can remember. That’s why I decided to study a natural science subject after graduating from high school. It had to have something to do with animals to stay in the subject. I decided to study agricultural biology, which is only taught at the University of Hohenheim in Germany. As part of this degree, I specialized in zoology and farm animal biology and came into contact with bees for the first time in 2007 through courses in this subject.
My interest was quickly sparked and the fascination of honey bees captured me more and more. Like many aspiring beekeepers, I faced the question “What’s the best way to get started?” – I had neither an apiary nor a beekeeper mentor to help me with my first attempts at beekeeping. By lucky circumstances I came to a skilled beekeeper directly on site in my home Neuhausen. He helped me also promptly to my first two bee colonies and organized directly in addition a temporary stand place. Thrown in at the deep end, I entered uncharted territory and began to look after my first two bee colonies.
The following year I decided to attend a four-week bee course at the Apicultural State Institute (University of Hohenheim). Over time I had more questions than the literature could answer. The course gave me a deeper insight into both theory and practical beekeeping.
After the end of the course, I decided to do my diploma thesis in the field of bees. And so it happened and I started my carreer in May 2008 as a honey bee scientist. I became an employee at the Apicultural State Institute in Hohenheim. Besides experienced colleagues like Dr. Gerhard Liebig, I learned a lot from DEBIMO beekeepers Klaus Hampel, Thomas Leukhardt and Simon Hummel during this time, especially for my start in beekeeping.
In the meantime, I had successfully completed my studies as a graduate agricultural biologist and decided to do my doctorate at the State Institute. On an experimental basis, I looked after about 20 more bee colonies at the University of Hohenheim to observe interactions of bee diseases with environmental factors, plant protection products and varroacides.
“There is no substitute for experience” – according to this motto, I still try to acquire as much knowledge, tricks and tricks of the trade as possible in order to be able to manage my own colonies in a bee-friendly and sustainable way. For me, it is important to be able to identify with one’s own actions and also to maintain interdisciplinary and overarching views, especially when dealing with nature. In times of monocultures and intensive agriculture, I see the keeping of honey bees as an active contribution to the preservation of species richness, the cultural landscape and environmental protection.