Bee-keep­ing it in the fam­ily


Doug Lo­gan is pas­sion­ate about bees. Re­ally pas­sion­ate.

When he talks about bees, honey, na­tive flora and fauna, his eyes light up and off he goes. It’s charm­ing.

His kitchen ta­ble on his ten acre prop­erty in Eyre­ton is stacked with books on bees and bee­keep­ing.

He ‘‘did a season’’ as a com­mer­cial bee­keeper straight out of school and has cir­cled back to it as a hob­by­ist. But a se­ri­ous hob­by­ist.

‘‘You do it be­cause you love them,’’ he said sim­ply.

‘‘It used to be that the hob­by­ists were ‘sec­ond rate’ - the ones who cut cor­ners and didn’t know what they were do­ing. But now, back­yard bee­keep­ers are purists. We’re the ones who leave a box in for the bees to feed over win­ter, keep ac­cu­rate notes, check for dis­eases.’’

He points to the need to be reg­is­tered and the strict con­trols on hive keep­ing as a safe­guard against cowboys.

He is cur­rently com­plet­ing a cor­re­spon­dence course through Lin­coln Univer­sity that gives him in­for­ma­tion his com­mer­cial col­leagues don’t know.

‘‘The more you learn, the bet- ter it is for ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially the bees.’’

Lo­gan also works his pas­sion at NZ Health Food, so honey and bee prod­ucts play a big part in his every day. Which is why he in­cludes his chil­dren in his bee­keep­ing.

Sa­man­tha, 11, said she had a real fear of bees for a start.

‘‘I still get a bit scared with­out the suit, but I think they’re awe­some.’’

Both of the Lo­gan chil­dren take part in work­ing the hive, check­ing for changes and the first signs of dis­ease. Lo­gan’s wife is se­verely al­ler­gic to bees but the fam­ily has learned that ‘‘bees never hurt un­less they’re pro­voked’’. A hive has been kept a mere 10m from the house with no trouble at all.

Lo­gan’s hobby has be­come a bit of a mon­ey­maker, as he grows com­mer­cial seed on a small scale, which goes hand in hand with bee­keep­ing. He has a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for alpine plants and na­tive bees.

‘‘New Zealand has a great mar­ket in­ter­na­tion­ally, and it’s re­ally im­por­tant we pro­tect that.

‘‘There’s more manuka honey sold world­wide than we ex­port, so the off-the-shelf test­ing for coun­ter­feit honey is so im­por­tant.’’

Doug Lo­gan has a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for na­tive bees and alpine plants.

Doug Lo­gan shares his love of bees and all things nat­u­ral with his chil­dren.

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