By Nora Ball

Last weekend LovePerthLife went down to Kelmscott and took part in a hands-on introduction to beekeeping by Heathneil Honey. The class was designed for people wanting to take up beekeeping as a hobby, or even those like myself who were simply curious to learn more about these fascinating creatures.

In a small, intimate group of both the young and old, the facilitators Zoe and Brett welcomed us into their home. We started off with some important theory with plenty of opportunities to ask questions along the way. The very knowledgeable Brett took us through the tools of the trade and shared his tips for keeping beehives from over 20 years of experience. He went into great detail about the bees themselves explaining everything there is to know about them from their complex social structure, to their mating rituals, how honey is made and much more.

After a brief tea break where we were treated to some delicious homemade goodies (all made with honey of course), we got to the fun part of the afternoon… suiting up in our bee suits and heading out to the hives! We saw the bees in action, putting into practice the theory we learnt as we took a closer look at the the bees busy at work. It was challenge to try and spot the noticeably larger queen bee buzzing alongside up to 50,000 bees in a single hive. The bees at Heathneil Honey were extremely placid and certainly challenged the stereotype that they are out to sting you.

So why should we care about the bees? The ‘Save the Bees’ movement has been getting lots of traction in recent times as bee populations are in decline around the world. Without bees working hard in pollination, there could be disastrous effects on the ecosystem and our food supplies. Western Australia has over 960 registered beekeepers with nearly 29,000 hives.  More than 90% of these are amateur beekeepers, which could be you one day too.

If you are thinking of giving beekeeping a go, I can highly recommend this workshop by Heathneil Honey that is just as fun as it is informative. You can head to their Facebook page to see upcoming events and workshops. I know I got a real buzz out of the day. Thank you Zoe and Brett for the amazing class and experience.