New approaches to bee breeding, the latest international research on Varroa and understanding the challenges of the honey market are just a handful of this year's pressing topics at the Apiculture New Zealand Conference and Trade Exhibition.

The annual industry event returns to the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua from Thursday-Saturday, June 27- 29 with the apt theme "Growing value, sharing knowledge."

"With the challenge of a difficult marketplace, it's more important than ever for industry to come together, hear from the experts and discuss the issues and opportunities," said Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos.

Keynote speakers include two renowned entomologists from the United States, Dr Samuel Ramsey and Dr Juliana Rangel-Posada.

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Dr Ramsey's award-winning research focuses on the bee-killing Varroa mite, while Dr Rangel-Posada's expertise is on the reproductive quality of honey bees.

Beekeepers, packers, exporters and suppliers will find a range of presentations and seminars useful for their business or hobby over the three days. They will also have access to one of the largest national tradeshows in New Zealand, featuring exhibits and stands from over 80 companies.

In addition to the popular National Honey Competition, the conference will feature new competitions such as one for honey-based foods.

"Competitions and awards have been a great way to showcase the range and quality of New Zealand bee products," said Karin.

"With our new categories and revised rules, we've opened opportunities to raise the calibre of the awards and make them more meaningful commercially."

The full programme can be viewed here.