Hi, I’m Maggie James,

Twenty-five plus years ago, loving the outdoors I struck on the idea of having a beehive as a hobby. Diving into beekeeping with gusto, I studied the Telford Certificate in Apiculture, then moved onto the Queen Bee Rearing Certificate (Merit Pass) both via correspondence. The latter included eight weeks at Telford with major emphasis on stock selection, grafting techniques, genetics, and instrumental insemination.

Back home in Christchurch, my first customer enquiry was for 600 queen cells! I thought it was a hoax, particularly when the guy said he was travelling next day from the deep south with a chocolate cake for a morning cuppa! Well, I produced his order and got heaps of referrals all over the South Island from that outfit.

Next season, I located to Leeston, mid Canterbury, fortuitously coinciding with breakup of the Airborne Honey beekeeping operation. All the ex ABH guys were excellent beekeepers and I ended up with the whole lot as my customers. Working out of a large local extraction plant, generated more customers. I have great commercial referees, and still retain some of my original customers. Local guys get weekly standing orders throughout the season for smaller amounts of cells, but those from long distances generally 70 or 144. Over the years, this has led to tens of thousands of quality queen cells being produced.

As an AP2 from 2000 to 2015 each autumn on a contract basis, hive surveillance was undertaken for Ministry of Primary Industries, Biosecurity NZ, South Island Honey Bee Exotic Surveillance Programme. Inspections undertaken in hobbyist and commercial operations extending from Kaiapoi, to the Canterbury foothills, urban Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, and rural Ashburton areas. I am DECA number 182 in NZ, attending a refresher course in 2019.

2010 to 2017, for three divisions of Lincoln University writing and photography for levels 3 and 4 Certificates in Apiculture Knowledge resources undertaken. Also, distance learning assessor for level 3 apiculture students throughout NZ, Australia, and Canada. Many students have excelled in various aspects of the New Zealand apiculture industry.

In 2014 the opportunity was grabbed as a guest speaker to The Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations, Beekeeping Summer School, Gormanston.

2021 brings good fortune as a Registered Assessor, NZ Apprenticeship in Apiculture.  The position of Freelance Writer for the “Apiarist’s Advocate”, monthly electronic beekeeping journal, has also been nailed. 

So now I have got so much to tell regarding my beekeeping experiences, and it has come time to change tack and decelerate. A range of beekeeping related PowerPoint tutorials has been produced. Intense fact filled tutorials in plain simple English are in line with a level 3 or 4 module on the same topic. The most popular, delivered throughout NZ, Queen Cell Production For Producing Large Numbers Of Quality Queen Cells. A range of other, Beekeeping Knowledge Tutorial topics based in Leeston, can be undertaken throughout NZ if attendee numbers, travel access etc are suitable.