Updated: Dec 14, 2021
This year, for his birthday, I gave my husband a Flow Hive and the associated equipment. This was inspired by his father keeping bees, and our tour around Future Food Systems in Fed Square (please go if you haven't had the chance yet).
We have been waiting for months to be able to introduce some bees to their new home, and this week they are finally in. The weather was warm enough on Tuesday for Si to transfer them from their carrier box into the Flow Hive.
So we now have a beekeeper and a keeper of bees in our family, as described by Costa Georgiadis in his latest book Costa's World*. Si is the beekeeper - he will maintain the Flow Hive and care for the bees, harvest the honey, and make sure there aren’t any infestations (such as small hive beetles...?!?). And I am a keeper of bees - providing flowering plants that provide nectar and pollen for the bees all year round and learning and sharing information about bees. "A flower is nature's nightclub, and bees are the clubbers who come to dance." - Costa. So maybe I'm the bee door-bitch?!
We have two broad categories of bees in Australia: introduced and native. Si has European honeybees in the Flow Hive. In Australia, we have roughly 2000 native bees. Only 11 of these species are social and form hives. The rest are solitary and create nests independently or are semi-social. Generally, they nest in tree hollows, soil, decaying wood, and sometimes plant stems. They are wild and free.
We also have a chief honeyeater in the family, our eldest son. Local honey is said to be helpful for those with hay fever and grass and pollen allergies. Surely backyard harvested honey must be the ultimate local honey!
* Costa Georgiadis. Costa's World. Gardening for the Soil, the Soul and the Suburbs. ABC Books, Harper Collins Publishers, 2021.