Beekeeping is big in Wanganui, and interest will be fed by the major national bee conference that starts on Sunday.
Monthly meetings of the Wanganui Beekeepers' Club have got so large that sometimes it's standing room only.
The club has 80 financial members, and about 40 usually come to meetings.
But there are other beekeepers in town who have passed through it, learned what they needed and now maintain their own hives.
Club membership has trebled in the last few years.
For others that are interested, the New Zealand Apiculture Conference at the Wanganui Racecourse from Sunday to Thursday should be a splendid opportunity to find out more about beekeeping.
The first two days are for small and hobbyist beekeepers.
For an all-inclusive price they will have two days' activity, including a seminar, a field trip to see Wanganui hobbyists' hives and times to socialise together.
Wanganui Beekeeping Club member Anne Hulme said 150 out-of-town people had already registered for the Sunday, and 70 for the Monday.
Members of the public can also tour the conference site, which will have many stalls, indoors and outdoors, or they can pay to listen to some of the speakers.
The main one is Canadian Dr Rob Currie who will speak on aspects of bee health since the varroa mite arrived, and compare New Zealand bees with Canadian bees.
Tuesday will be an industry day, where beekeepers will be talking about sharing biosecurity costs with government, and how they would like biosecurity managed.
Wednesday will be a scientific day, with a talk on allergic reactions to bee stings, and another on the special qualities of manuka honey.
Registration is with Mary-Ann Lindsay, ph 04 478 3367 or email email@example.com.
The conference is the first joint one for the National Beekeepers' Association of New Zealand and Federated Farmers' bee industry group.
They plan to merge, and want to speak to government with one voice, association secretary Frank Lindsay said.
The conference was to have been held in Wellington or Palmerston North, but beekeepers found that parking and food would cost less in Wanganui, rooms would be plentiful and the Wanganui venue had more space to offer.
Mrs Hulme said hobbyist beekeepers had 10 hives or less, and two were enough to supply a family with honey.
Wanganui also has three semi-commercial beekeepers who belong to the club, and other really big businesses, such as the Comvita operation now based in Paul's Rd.
There are also out of town businesses that pay to have their hives on properties when manuka or bush is flowering.
Mrs Hulme's hives are in town, and the last honey season was all right for her.
But she said the commercial beekeepers had a mixed bag - because it rained at times when the manuka or clover they were targeting was in flower.