Following a difficult 2019 Spring and Summer due to drought and lack of flower nectar rich flowers the new year mini monsoons in late January, Bee One Third welcomed a new team member Kathy, who comes onboard contributing to the hive in field of Beekeeping, Training and education, and content creation as her lead roles.
February and March were busy months spent climbing on rooftops, harvesting very small amounts from neighbourhoods around town, bottling honey and building new bee equipment for the season ahead. The 2019/2020 season (August ‘19 - July 2020) was the worst beekeeping season on national record. We recorded, along with beekeepers nationally were all reporting 1/10 of annual production, resulting in the necessary feeding of bees to keep stock alive. Thankfully, we did not have to feed our bees all season due to the amount of honey we left on our hives for the bees.
Sadly, we bid ciao to Jacopo who returned to Italy among the strange hazy days of early April … just as we set about checking bees and packing them down for the cooler months before the 20/21 season kicked off.
After a few quiet months with lots of uncertainty in the air for us all; bees, clients and production included, we got were lucky to get back into business with factory some major factory renovations. For those of you who had seen our original setup at Coopers Plains, behind the coffee Shop ‘Bedouin Brew’, you’ll have seen it was a small 120 square metre cold room panelled space. We were lucky enough to secure the whole building in April from Bedouin Brew, kick starting us into a new phase of Bee One Third as a pollination and production business.
Thanks to Ben and Matt and their boundless energy and attention to detail, stripping back walls, shelving and ceilings to reveal the bare bones for our shed. We painted all our shed walls and started preparing the space for the new manufacturing rooms. Things really got rolling again fresh out of winter with candle-making workshops, beginner beekeeping classes, and the welcome addition of Jade, who has joined the Bee One Third Team in the Business Operations Coordinator role.
Springtime is a growth season for bees and beekeepers. It is when the flowers come out of winter hibernation and photosynthesis starts to gain in traction. Plants take life, going into budding phase ready for flowering. Bees begin foraging longer throughout the days, while the moisture is retained with warmer days and cooler nights. Thankfully this Spring our bees were incredibly healthy, without disease in any of our locations and apiaries. We had a few weaker hives not survive the cooler months, which was sad to see, but overall, most colonies were shaping up to be productive hives for Spring nectar gathering. We give thanks for the Spring rains and our incredibly hard-working bees.
We moved our bees onto pollination at a Macadamia farm in Federal, Northern NSW. We placed 32 Hives onto pollination, with no expectations of the resulting return in honey. Overall, we were grateful to harvest around 550Kgs of premium, Byron Bay Macadamia Honey. This is currently featured as our Byron Bay Honey through till when it sells out which we project in late Feb ‘21.
After Federal, we were lucky enough to hear of some gorgeous country available to place our hives on within a travelling stock route just West of Wooli, North of Grafton. Our bees are now happily placed in the middle of some beautiful Ironbark country, mixed with a small amount of Brush box nectar coming in. Two of the East coasts most renowned honey varieties. The best part about keeping bees near the beach, the early Saturday morning surfs and cleansing escapes from the city beekeeping lifestyle.
Our colonies spread around the CBD and suburban Brisbane are all in good health, with highlight locations James St, Toowong, Woolloongabba and Brisbane Wetlands appearing to produce an abundance of honey throughout the last 3 months, ready to hit the shelves in the coming week leading into Christmas.
Our factory works are nearing completion, with our epoxy floors being laid this week along with a few finishing touches to our main processing room before the years end. Most of our new processing machinery will arrive from interstate and abroad (fear not, we are keeping it local! Our main machine is from New Zealand – our best buddies and expert engineers!) at the beginning of 2021 and should be installed for the second half of our beekeeping season. An exciting time for Bee One Third, as we venture into the next phase of our journey as Brisbane’s primary pollinator endorsers.
We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank you for all your support in 2020, with what has been a year full of tender energy, learning curves and risk taking, we are truly so lucky to have such a supportive network of local businesses and people to work with.
We are grateful to know you, do business with you and to be a part of your journey of growth and success.