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The fascination first began as a child. John from East Coast Bee Services was completely fascinated by the bees drawn to the sugary scent of the wedding cakes his parents would make for their small business in South Africa. Years and continents later John transformed this fascination into a career.
Blank recently caught up with John to learn about his journey and the ins and outs of bee keeping.
Now a local residing in the lush hills of Tallai, John emigrated to Australia in 2004 and spent nine years working in the corporate world managing IT solutions, however his love of nature and bees always remained. In 2006 John joined a local beekeeping group, starting to maintain and care for hives in the gorgeous Gold Coast hinterland as a hobby. His passion and love for our black and yellow friends grew and in 2013 he left his corporate job to become a professional beekeeper.
His apiary grew from five hives in his hobbyist days to 250 during the peak honey harvesting season, and like anything in life, working with bees in far more complex than meets the eye.
Looking at a glistening golden jar you can’t begin to imagine the time and effort that goes into harvesting this sweet nectar. Regular maintenance and monitoring of hives located on multiple sites around the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers is merely the beginning.
John carefully tends and cares for his bees, working in harmony with the changing weather, seasons and the insects’ needs – I learned that like us, bees too suffer from cabin fever during the lengthy rainy periods, staying inside their hives where it’s warm and dry.
John monitors his hives splitting them when necessary, introducing a new queen bee extending his apiary and pollination potential. The peak of the honey harvesting fluctuates with the seasons and weather patterns but is influenced heavily by the flowering of native eucalypt varietals, in particular the paperbark.
Bee keeping also plays an integral role in our farming industry. John relocates his hives during blueberry season where his colonies of bees busily get to work pollinating the blueberry flowers for us to all enjoy the sweet berries after harvest.
When I visited John at one of his sites on the Gold Coast, his passion and appreciation for bees and our beautiful backyard was undeniable. He has exciting plans to continue expanding his business, preparing to begin breeding queen bees and servicing more of the Gold Coast with his services.
You can meet John each weekend at the Burleigh Farmers’ Markets on Saturday and at the Turf Club Farmers’ Markets on Sunday. I highly recommend you get a jar of his cinnamon honey – made from a carefully selected, locally sourced cinnamon and of course, his world class honey. His services also include swarm relocation, pollination and he sells to local green grocers and restaurants.
Touch base with John at eastcoastbees.com.au