By Anne Tindall

What made you crazy about Bees?
I HAVE always been interested in bees for some reason. I actually like them for several reasons. I was interested in raising bees, I like how they live. I like them for the environment and for getting the honey.
I was particularly interested in the types of honey you can get. I enjoy mucking around with bees. Occasionally I will get stung but not that often.
I just love it and it is worthwhile investing a bit of money into it and gradually building it up.

What have been some of your major achievements?
I think attending the beekeepers meeting where I started on this project with a chap called Keith Grey.
He was one of the initiators of the South Gippsland Beekeepers Association in Leongatha and he was a member of our Men’s Shed.
We got involved in making top bar beehives and from there as we started making them four of us went down to Golden Beach and we bought about five or six hives and it basically took off from there.
We ran a beekeeping class at our community shed and that encouraged others.
The club has grown from a very small number to over 70 members, which is good. There are commercial people involved as well as hobbyists. Not all people have yet got bees, some are still learning and starting out. It is a great thing helping people with that. Getting out and rescuing bees when the bees are swarming and people want to spray them and that sort of thing is really great.
Keith has been a good mentor to me and so have quite a few other people. It’s all been so worthwhile. It’s exciting seeing some of the professionals who have huge sheds full of big vats of honey.

Where to from here?
My goal is that this time next year I will have more bees and in a couple of years I will have a small commercial enterprise.
I’m not interested in anything too big but just having it so I can give honey away and possibly sell it as well.
I really want to encourage people to have bees on their block or farm or whatever. It’s important to be alert to any poisons in the air that might be knocking them off which is not a good thing.
You need to be alert to any insects or other things that might cause the bees to go so you’ve got to look out for all the parasites, especially the varroa mite because you don’t want any of that spreading throughout the rest of the state.