LIFE IN THE HIVE

Bee busi­ness is buzzing for fa­ther and son

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

APIARISTS: Ben and Dar­ren Pratt at­tend to their hives on a lo­cal macadamia farm.

IT’S the sweet life that raises Bund­aberg Honey owner Dar­ren Pratt from his bed each morn­ing.

Mr Pratt started honey farm­ing three years ago and won’t look back now he and son Ben­jamin have mas­tered bee-keep­ing.

Speak­ing with Ru­ral Weekly be­tween “rob­bing the hives”, Mr Pratt said the busi­ness was buzzing.

Ben­jamin is learn­ing the ins and outs of the bee busi­ness and prides him­self on sell­ing the prod­uct at Bund­aberg’s Shalom Mar­ket each Sun­day.

They own 200 hives and ev­ery dou­ble hive con­tains be­tween 30,000–35,000 bees.

The Bund­aberg hives pro­duce about 12–15 tonnes of honey each year, with a va­ri­ety of flavours.

The most pop­u­lar flavour is the macadamia, which also has the short­est time frame in which to work.

The apiarists said there was one chance each year to have the bees at the right place at the right time to get the full flavour of the macadamia.

“There’s about a six-week win­dow with the bees where you have to act fast,” Mr Pratt said.

“You only get one chop at this per year.”

The macadamia is na­tive to Aus­tralia and starts flow­er­ing in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

The flow­ers are at­trac­tive to bees for three days after blos­som­ing.

Bund­aberg Honey will av­er­age about two-and-a-half tonnes of the macadamia flavour in the six-week sea­son.

Mr Pratt said some peo­ple didn’t re­alise the flavours of honey came from the trees in which the bees col­lected pollen and nec­tar.

Bund­aberg Honey pro­duces flavours in­clud­ing blue­berry, straw­berry, iron bark, mixed shrub, mixed gum and Bund­aberg blos­som.

They use dou­ble hives to man­u­fac­ture the golden good­ness, which is sold as 100% pure honey with no ar­ti­fi­cial flavours or colours.

“It’s all pure and there’s no heat­ing,” he said.

“Once you heat honey you start to lose the good bac­te­ria, the stuff that’s re­ally good for you.”

He said there was a sci­ence be­hind mak­ing qual­ity honey, which in­cluded hav­ing the queen bee ex­cluded be­tween the two hives.

“This process will keep the hives healthy,” he said.

Mr Pratt wel­comed the re­cent weather, say­ing the rain would help more flow­ers around the re­gion to bloom.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Bund­aberg Honey phone Dar­ren Pratt on 0409 921 600.

PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

APIARIST LIFE: Dar­ren Pratt at­tends to hives at a Bund­aberg macadamia farm. Bund­aberg Honey only has a six-week win­dow in which to pro­duce its pop­u­lar macadamia-flavoured honey.

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