LAT­EST RU­RAL NEWS IN FENCE POST

Weather con­di­tions prove sweeter than honey for pro­duc­ers:

South Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - kather­ine. mor­ris@ south­bur­nett­times. com. au Kather­ine Mor­ris

We had a really good win­ter be­cause it was so warm. — Rick Jensen

CY­CLONE Deb­bie may have brought de­struc­tion all over Queens­land in March, but it’s given the honey in­dus­try its best sea­son since the 1970s.

Kin­garoy bee­keeper Rick Jensen said a warm win­ter and the rain from Cy­clone Deb­bie had helped in honey pro­duc­tion.

“We’ve had a pretty good win­ter be­cause of the cy­clone,” Mr Jensen said.

“If we hadn’t had the cy­clone, we would have had a very bad time.

“Even now we are still reap­ing the re­wards from the cy­clone, rain is a good thing for bees long term.

“Be­cause some trees bud and flower ev­ery year and some only bud and flower ev­ery three years or five years, so there is a lot of that weather, we are lucky we can take our hives out to wher­ever the rain is.”

Mr Jensen runs about 860 hives and mi­grates them all over Queens­land.

He has been a bee­keeper for 20 years and said other bee­keep­ers who had been in the game longer than him had not seen a sea­son like this one since the 1970s.

“We had a really good win­ter be­cause it was so warm,” he said.

“There had been rain and the bees just didn’t really have a win­ter as it was so warm and wet, it dried out to­wards the end, but it was wet in the early win­ter so we had a record win­ter for honey pro­duc­tion.”

Mr Jensen has had to make some changes to where he takes his bees as it has been in­cred­i­bly dry in many parts of Queens­land.

“We nor­mally go to the chan­nel coun­try for the win­ter but it’s so dry out west that we couldn’t do that, and they haven’t had rain out there. If we get rain in out there we will go back,” he said,

“There are lots of vari­ables in bee- keep­ing, just like any pri­mary pro­ducer.”

Mr Jensen said a bee­keeper might be lucky to see a sea­son as good as this in a life­time.

“The cy­clone was an in­cred­i­ble thing, it was dry and the trees really re­sponded to the wet,” he said.

“We don’t really un­der­stand it all, we’re not full on botanist.”

Mr Jensen said there had been a lot more de­mand for pol­li­na­tion be­cause of a de­crease in bee pop­u­la­tions.

“There has been a de­crease, a lot of peo­ple don’t see bees in their gar­den any­more and that’s from the African hive bee­tle, it came back in the late ‘ 90s and took out a lot of un­man­aged hives,” he said.

“A cou­ple of years back in the south­ern states there was a need for pol­li­na­tion, if a bee doesn’t visit the flower they don’t get an al­mond, there is bees go­ing from Queens­land down to the al­monds in South Aus­tralia.”

Mr Jensen said av­o­ca­dos re­lied on pol­li­na­tion and be­cause de­mand was high, more trees were be­ing planted.

PHOTO: RHI­AN­NON TUFFIELD

ALL ABUZZ: Bee­keeper Rick Jensen with his fa­ther Derek.

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