the beekeeper





I am not the beekeeper of this operation. Adam is.

I've never really been particularly interested in bees, they were always Dad's gig, and that whole bee suit thing was kind of alarming.

When we started talking about moving back down here to the farm, Dad asked if we wanted to take over his hives. We fart-arsed around and spent yet another year not moving until finally Dad sold his hives – he'd had enough, he'd had them since he was sixteen. 

About a month later we decided to move. 



Those beehives now belong to a very good friend of ours, let's call her Shaztown, and those bees are called Malcolm's Cranky Bees. No reflection on Dad of course, and Shaztown has other (less cranky) hives she's aquired. But every time she handles Malcolm's Cranky Bees they give her grief. So we don't miss them.

Adam has done a bee course and has two hives. He adores his bees. And we adore their honey. We lost a hive over summer, and he ordered a replacement starter hive months ago. Of course it was ready to be picked up when he was away recently, and Dad was also away. Shaztown was working. I had to pick it up. 

Which was fine until I arrived at the bee place and the lovely bee man brought out an enclosed mesh box buzzing with 1000 bees and a queen, and there were at least another 100 bees hanging on the outside of the box. "Put it in your boot" was the bee man's instruction. I drive a station wagon. Not being wild about driving in a car with bees flying all around, I put a hessian sack over the box and hoped for the best. Which sufficed, the bees were calm and not in the slightest bit cranky. 



At home, I had to PUT MY HAND IN THE MESH BEE BOX and pull out the queen bee excluder and uncap it, so she could eat her way out of it, join her hive and start laying eggs. I couldn't wear gloves but I did put on the alarming head gear. Anyway, in the process of doing this, successfully, with no stings, I became at one with the bees. They. Are. Amazing. 




Do you know when they leave the hive they fly in patterns that communicate landmarks to each other? About where the good pollen is and how to get there? AMAZING. 

Two hive cannot possibly be enough. 

I think we need more. 

LOVE the bees. 



4 Comments on “the beekeeper

April 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

Bees are pretty amazing creatures, but I would have been apprehensive about having them fly around my car too. Never a dull moment at your place. You guys rock x

Just Joyful
April 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Must be a Bee thing happening at the moment – check out Jaime at Ngo Family Farm for her post on bees!

April 9, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Brave woman! For us, the chicken game begins tomorrow. Next on my list on garden desires, bees, oh yes please.

James Robertson
June 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Welcome to the club! Bees are truly amazing, and the more time you spend with them, the more you realise how complex and wonderful their behaviour is.

With your permaculture experience, I’d encourage you to look into “natural beekeeping” practices. This uses a slightly different hive design (a Warre hive), and it focuses on more bee-friendly practices.

Tim Malfroy is the Australian expert, and Milkwood are regularly organising courses with him. Highly recommended!

You should also consider joining our natural beekeeping mailing list:!forum/natural-beekeeping-aunz

Cheers, James


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