One of the ways Australian beekeeping is different to many parts of the world is the way we move our bees to ensure a continual source of nectar and pollen. In the industry, we call it “chasing honey”. Commercial beekeepers “chase honey” (and that also means we chase flowers) to make sure the bees always have a food source so they are fat and furry and don’t starve.
While some beekeepers in some countries routinely feed bees sugar, corn or rice syrup to prevent starvation, generally speaking, Australian beekeepers dont have to. Can you imagine a forest of eucalypt trees all flowering at the same time? Its an image that occurs frequently in Australia. Its also one reason Australian honey is highly valued in the international honey market.
Australia has a huge variety of flowers trees, bushes and ground cover, so we can usually find a source of nectar and food for our bees – but it means we have to move bees.
When we transport bees from one location to another we either load the bees at night, or very early in the morning, and then unload them off the truck at their new location before sunrise.
These are see some of the beautiful moments we experience when we move our bees
When preparing to move hives we smoke them, we stack them and then we load them….
When all the hives are on the truck, the bobcat is loaded as well. Then its a matter of “roping” or “strapping” the hives to tie the load down. We start on one side of the truck, and throw the ropes or straps over.
Once one side is done, we move to the other side and finish tying off the ropes.
We do one last check around the load and then we leave.
This bee site has been used by our family for nearly a century. We always make sure we leave it in a similar state to the way we found it.
On the way, the beauty of the Australian bush is mesmerising. We travel along some beautiful country roads when entering and leaving our bee sites. We have to stay focused for one last chore because on the way out we collect our beekeeping sign.
This load of bees was being moved to pollinate a sunflower crop. Sunflower honey is an amazing bright orange with a zesty, almost citrus flavour. We were a bit late getting there.. the sun was already up.
After driving to the new location we untie all the ropes or straps and take the hives off the truck.
When placing the hives at their new location, we smoke them, unload them and unstack them. These shots are all at the same location, from different angles. The diversity of Australian flora is breathtaking and a source of constant beauty to us in our work.
The last beekeeping chore on the way home is to place the beekeeping sign on the gate. Then we go home for breakfast and a nap.
We hope this helps you to understand the non-intrusive nature of Australian beekeeping, that eucalypt forests are the main source of Australian honey, and that at times, we work in partnership with other farmers to pollinate their crops.
We look forward to hopefully sharing some sunflower honey with you…
The Honey Delight Family