We’ve been interested in keeping hives among our vines for a while to increase the biodiversity of the farm, aid in pollination and also harvest some sweet, sweet honey.
In the Spring of 2016 we sent our grape whisperer Simon across to Sydney to learn about bees. Tim Malfroy was running natural beekeeping courses which help people “to provide for the needs of the bee colony above that of the beekeeper. It is a holistic approach based on respect and love for the bee colony.”
Once Simon completed the course and graduated from grape whisperer to 'bee hugger', we jumped straight in. My father-in-law, Martin, and Simon built their own hives and Simon captured 9 wild swarms between October and January. Some of the captures were pretty hardcore, involving taking the sides off houses and a sting count of around twenty per capture.
The full hives now reside happily amongst our vines. We will have a small harvest later this year, which will keep our crumpets drizzled in pure nectar for some time.
You can read more about Tim Malfroy at his extensive website Natural Beekeeping
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