The honeybee has long represented the link between handwork and prosperity. So, it is no surprise that through the hard work of Australian beekeepers, the bee industry contributes millions of dollars to the country’s economy directly through honey products like AB’s Honey. Let us take a closer look at all the demanding work that goes into managing hives and harvesting honey.
The Typical Workday
It is said that there is no typical or standard workday for beekeepers. The tasks vary from day to day and season to season. Most beekeepers play it by ear. The duties range from inspection of hives to the harvesting of honey.
However, some things are standard practice amongst beekeepers that remain constant. The necessary steps in routine included in all beekeeper’s schedules are as follows:
1. Wearing Protective Clothing
Protective clothing protects beekeepers from being stung by the bees they are working with. Though bees are generally calm and docile, the probability of being stung by one drastically increases when one is interacting with thousands of bees every day. This includes a beekeeping hat equipped with a face net, a protective beekeeping suit, and gloves. Many experienced beekeepers opt-out of using so much gear and instead just wear their beekeeping hat.
2. Getting Out the Smoker
Before opening a hive, beekeepers smoke it with a bee-smoker. The smoke also makes the busy bees get busier in feeding since they interpret the smoke as a possible bushfire due to which they might have to abandon the hive. This helps them remain calm as they get busy with eating, and the beekeeper can work in peace.
3. Beginning Inspection
Most beekeeping in Australia happens in Langstroth beehives that are boxes stacked one upon the other, with slides inside that have honeycombs and bees on them. The boxes replicate the living environment for the bees perfectly. The bees are free to fly in and out of their ‘hive’, and the incredible smart creatures always return to the box which has their queen in it.
Beekeepers will take out individual slides from the box and inspect each one for signs of pests, parasites, and the state of honey. Looking for and locating the Queen Bee is the most rewarding part of inspection by most beekeepers.
4. Conduct maintenance
Maintenance involves many different tasks ranging from fixing up the boxes to harvesting honey.
When a colony starts to outgrow its box, the beekeeper will shift them into a bigger home. This is a smooth transition since the entire bee colony will follow the queen once she has been moved. Sometimes a new Queen Bee has to be brought in to ensure that the colony continues to flourish.
5. Extraction and Winter Duties
Honey can be extracted using different methods, but the most commonly used is the rotating extractor through which honey falls and flows out from a valve. After that, it just needs to be strained, and it is ready to be stored into jars.
The bees are less active during the winter months, so most inspections involve quick checks to ensure the beehive does not lose much heat. Beekeepers generally use these months to focus on selling their product and work on their equipment.
Not all beekeepers are looking to sell the final product of the bees, though. In Australia, many beekeepers do it for the calming nature of the activity, and the fulfilment of conserving and protecting bees. In exchange, the bees pollinate their crops and gardens, which is particularly helpful due to the uncertainty of climate (drought) in Australia.
Explore more about beekeeping and get your honey jar today from AB’s Honey. We deliver pure honey produced by Australian beekeepers at affordable prices. Call us at 07 3823 4576 for more information regarding our range of honey products.