Most of you probably know, it’s been an incredibly difficult season for most beekeepers and Australia has experienced one the worst “honey seasons” in living memory. The resulting honey shortage and decline of the Australian bee population has been featured in numerous print, radio, television and online media this year. We’ve played a part in highlighting the situation: media interviews, social media activity and supporting the NSW Apiarist and ACT Beekeeping Associations. Unfortunately it’s meant we haven’t had time for blogging and we hope you will forgive our 12 month blogging silence.
Fortunately for our family, in January of 2013, our master beekeeper recognised a pattern in the weather that he had last seen in the 1960’s.
His long range weather forecasting meant we had time to prepare for the worst “honey seasons” in living memory.
We’ve spent the past 18 months ensuring our bees were as healthy as they could be under the circumstances and this is a summary of how our family has managed the worst year in living memory:
- We protected our bees over the 2013 winter to prevent as much bee death as possible and our hives emerged from the 2013 winter in excellent condition,
- During the 2013 winter we also had prepared all our spare honey boxes to make sure we captured all the nectar our bees gathered in the early 2013 spring,
- When the heat wave hit in the 2013 – 14 summer we had already made fire breaks and sought sheltering shade for our bee hives,
- During the 2013 -14 summer all our hives had been painted a heat reflecting colour and had extra ventilation,
- This autumn (2014) we stopped our honey harvest early, and
- We’ve made sure our bees had plenty of stored honey and pollen to help them survive this years winter.
You can imagine, managing the weather like this has been a significant amount of work. Any beekeeper who made it through what we believe was the worst “honey season” in living memory should feel very proud.
We are very relieved to have survived it, and we are now starting to prepare for the spring ahead. We are incredibly proud to have survived the worst “honey season” in living memory with distinction.
This year we were the first beekeepers in Australia to be awarded gold medals for light coloured honey, and the only beekeepers to win three gold medals in the same year. We are the inaugural recipients of the commercial honey Award of Excellence Medallion and will also be the first beekeepers in Australia to display the champion medal on our honey.
We hope you all appreciate that Australian honey is an outstanding product and highly sought after on the international honey market. It’s something that every Australian should be incredibly proud of and we encourage everyone to eat more AUSSIE honey. The label has to say: 100% Australian honey. Then you can be sure you don’t have a blend of Aussie and imported honey.
We only have honey when our bees are healthy and that means any threat to our bee population will threaten how much honey we have. When there isn’t much honey, there wont be as many bees to pollinate our food producing crops. There are now grave concerns for pollination as we approach spring, however, we are looking to the future with hope and expectation. Our bees are healthy and we always hope the spring weather will be kind to our bees.
We are expecting that the outcomes of the recent senate enquiry into beekeeping and pollination will have far reaching implications for Australian agriculture, food security and labelling of honey. Other governments have realised that honey bees are crucial players in their economies, and we are desperate for the same to happen here.
We are encouraged by President Obama’s leadership in establishing a Pollinator Taskforce in the US.
What do you think?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could do so something like that in Australia, before we cascade further into pollinator crisis??
Carmen and the Honey Delight Family