A hinterland business is pushing a unique concept of adopting beehives – an idea that helps improve yields on fruit and vegetable plants, as well as increasing bee numbers and encouraging the vital natural process of pollination.
Adopt a Beehive also hosts information luncheons that include guided beehive inspections, an opening of a beehive and tastings of honey from five different beehive locations.
Paula West, the Queen Bee of Adopt a Beehive, came up with the novel idea when one of her other businesses – a small cropping farm called Kookaburra Organics – kept fielding queries from amateur growers about low yields.
“We would find people coming up to us seeking advice on their crops, and they would ask why they had so many flowers on the lemon tree, or Adopt a Beehive promotes vital pollination their zucchini vine, but hardly any fruit,” Ms West explained.
“We would ask, ‘How many bees have you seen in your garden?’ and they would answer, ‘a few’ or ‘not many’ or even ‘I haven’t seen any bees in my garden’, which is tragic.”
Ms West, also a qualified beekeeper, aware of the absolutely vital role played by bees in pollination, started wondering how she could help boost bee numbers in local gardens and encourage better pollination generally.
“And we wondered, ‘how can we do this?’ and we came up with the idea of Adopt-a-beehive.”
Adopt a Beehive places four, six or eight beehives in chemically-free environments Ms West lovingly describes as beehive sanctuaries. The areas must be totally free of any chemical sprays.
Full care, maintenance and harvesting of the hives is carried out by adopt-a-beehive. The bee hives are not placed in suburban areas due to potential neighbourhood conflict.
The adopted hives cost $590 each, and in return, the adoptee receives 8kg of honey. The adoptees are also asked to consider contributing $125 annually for upkeep and harvesting, and continue to receive the 8kg of honey annually.
“When we launched the business in 2012, people were eager, they got on board straight away, they knew what we were doing, that we were improving the pollination in Australia,” Ms West said.
“People all over Australia have adopted our beehives and even some internationally.
“It’s amazing that some people will even continue to support us, with adopt-a-beehive, but they don’t want the honey and ask us to instead donate it to a worthy cause.”
The next luncheon will be held at Crohamhurst Observatory, Crohamhurst Rd, Crohamhurst, near Peacheste , on October 16. Bookings can be made by contacting Adopt-a-Beehive at www.adoptabeehive. com.au