Frequently Asked Questions

Does your honey have health benefits?

Traditionally, honey has been used as a dressing for skin repair. Some honey is better at this than others especially Manuka and Kanuka but our honey could help.

Pretty much all honey have minute pollen particles within. They are difficult to see except with a microscope. Many people who have allergies such as hay fever seek local honey prior to the pollen season so as to expose themselves to a small dose of these pollens in order to activate the body’s immune system before summer thus lessening the shock that some sufferers have when the effects of hay fever are greatest. The success of this as a prophylactic may vary greatly between sufferers.

Is your honey organic?

Our Apiaries (groups of hives) are placed on farms which are non-intensive, some of which are farmed organically. To have an organically certified product, a honey producer must prove that there is no agri-chemical use within 5kms of a hive. We cannot absolutely guarantee this for all sites. Even though much of our honey is produced in a totally organic environment we cannot put that claim on our label.

Do your bees go hungry after you take the honey away?

No, we only take surplus honey away from the hive at the end of summer which the bees store in special boxes called honey supers. Most of the nectar collected by our bees becomes food for them inside the brood section of the hive. It is stored in the hive for winter along with pollen which is the protein source for a bee colony. At the end of the winter we check to see if those reserves have been used up, often they have not which is an ideal situation but where the bees need extra we feed them with syrup as a supplement.

Is the Varroa mite a problem for your bees?

Yes, the Varroa mite is a problem for all bees in NZ. We follow a strict regime of organic and non-organic treatments for the control of this parasite. Unfortunately bees cannot deal with Varroa themselves so they need our help. If no Varroa treatment was used by beekeepers most bee colonies would die, that would be a terrible situation for the environment and food production in NZ.

Do your bees make Manuka Honey?

There are pockets of manuka in South Otago and Eastern Southland but not in large stands. When bees are feeding from these stands they mix up the nectar with other types such as kanuka, kamahi and clover. So, we deliberately place our hives away from these mixed bush areas in order to help our bees make clover honey only.

How long does a bee live for?

Most worker bees live for just 4 to 6 months. In that short time they achieve a heck of a lot! Initially they are housekeepers then nurse bees who help feed the queen her special royal jelly and provide hive security against invaders such as wasps. They take nectar from foraging bees and convert it to honey. They also manage the use of pollen which is fed to young growing lavae mixed with honey. Ultimately (after a few weeks) they become foraging bees. One special task a foraging bee has is to go out in search of new food sources. They then return home to the hive and communicate to other foraging bees using a waggle dance exactly where to find it, cool eh!

Why do bees swarm?

During mid to late spring there is a lot of nectar and pollen arriving at the hive by busy foraging bees. This abundance of food triggers the queens to lay more eggs which grow to become worker bees in just 21 days. She can lay over 1000 eggs per day so the population inside the hive can increase very quickly. When the hive becomes too full of bees the hive collective decides that most of the bees should find another home and they leave along with the resident queen. Before they leave they ensure they have raised a new/replacement queen bee so that egg laying activity will continue. Swarming is an evolutionary activity where two colonies are the resulting effect and one (the swarm) colony goes out to populate other areas, amazing don’t you think?










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39 Tuapeka Mouth Rd
RD4, Balclutha 9274
New Zealand

39 Tuapeka Mouth Rd
RD4, Balclutha 9274
New Zealand