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.