BEEKEEPERS across South Gippsland are hoping honey lovers will support local makers in the wake of the recent bushfires.
President of the South Gippsland Beekeepers Club Bron Barton said many hives have been destroyed by fires this season.
“Last spring, commercial beekeepers had taken their hives to warm inland stands of flowering eucalypts, where, tragically, bushfires have destroyed many of these hives,” Ms Barton said.
“This is expected to reduce the availability of local honey; just as the long drought across eastern Australia had previously reduced overall supplies of Australian honey.”
Ms Barton said she hoped everyone sought out local commercial beekeepers to purchase their high-quality Australian honey.
“It would be a tragedy if the fires and drought led to an increase in low quality imported honey replacing our local product,” she said.
From early summer to early autumn, bees in South Gippsland are collecting nectar and processing it in their hives to make honey.
This is also the time when beekeepers are robbing bees and bottling their honey.
“Many people assume that bees are constantly collecting nectar and that beekeepers can take honey throughout the year; but actually, it’s a highly seasonal activity,” she said.
“Only in the warmer months are bees able to fill their hives in our cool South Gippsland climate.”
South Gippsland Beekeepers Club offer training courses to those wanting a more hands-on approach.
“The Beginner Beekeeping course has a strong focus on how to get started with bees,” Ms Barton said.
“We begin with an evening of beekeeping theory and follow this with a weekend field session to allow students to get hands-on with bees.”
The course begins on Friday, February 21, at 7.30pm in Leongatha.
Fees are $150 for club members and $175 for non-members.
To enrol, students should email Bron Barton by Monday, February 17, at president@sgbeekeepers.org.au.
To learn more about South Gippsland Beekeepers, go to www.southgippslandbeekeepers.org.au