Award For ‘Brave’ Beekeeping Activist

A beekeeper has been praised for “being brave” and “rising up” to call for more support for apiarists as he received a special award.

Thomas Hock from the small town of Weinolsheim in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate admitted being “speechless” when he was told he was the winner of the 2023 ‘Goldener Stachel’ (Golden Sting).

The prize is the highest honour awarded by the directory of the Federal Union of Professional Beekeepers.

Thomas, an outspoken campaigner against the dilution of honey, said: “I don’t know what to say.”

Thomas, who heads the Union of Professional Beekeepers’ branch in Rhineland-Palatinate, took up apiculture in 2012.

Picture shows Thomas Hock from the small town of Weinolsheim in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, undated. He admitted being “speechless” when he was told he was this year’s winner of the ‘Goldener Stachel’ (Golden Sting). (Thomas Hock, NewsX/Bee)

Throughout the years, he has become one of the most significant voices for more financial support for full-time honey farm managers.

A tireless lecturer and editor of open letters to decision-makers, Thomas has also demanded stricter regulations regarding the labelling of honey.

He explained: “I’m infuriated by the current rules. There has to be precise information regarding where the honey in the jars is coming from. Vacuous statements such as ‘from EU and non-EU countries’ are unacceptable.”

Bernhard Heuvel, the vice president of the Federal Union of Professional Beekeepers, praised Thomas by saying: “He is courageous and outspoken. Thomas invests a lot of time to rise up for our cause.”

Thomas called the news about a beekeeping boom in Germany into question.

He argued: “There used to be four million bee colonies in Germany. Now there are one million colonies.”

The Federal Union of Professional Beekeepers has around 4,500 members.

Around 99 per cent of beekeepers in Germany are non-professionals.

The Agriculture Ministry announced that around 135,000 residents of the country engaged in beekeeping. However, other sources claim that up to 155,000 people manage hives.

Among the EU-27, Germany takes 8th place in beekeeping statistics published by the European Commission. However, the country’s apiarists are unable to cover the high domestic demand for the product.


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