Bees perform a key role in any agricultural, hobby farm and ecosystem. They are responsible for pollinating 80% of Australia’s fruit, vegetable, nut and grain crops and it estimated that honey and hive related product industries are worth $60million per year.  But their contribution to crop production is an estimated $4-6 billion.

So it seems an obvious addition to our smallholding, to improve the viability and production of all our produce, whilst providing an additional outcome of its own… Besides what else do you buy a smallholder for Christmas- Bee hives one year and then harvesting equipment the next!

Beekeeping had always been appealing; however it remained one of the more daunting than other ventures... Maybe it was the suits! 
However we have found guidance in local groups and individuals and it remain surprising, given the decline in Beekeeping upon any scale- hobby or commercial how many people do keep them and in a variety of situations.

To keep bees you do not require a great amount of space, as they will travel. But they do need access to clean water and obviously the further they travel for food or water the less healthy the hive will be. It is possible to keep them upon other properties (with the owners agreement of course), something farmers are often open to as they gain the added advantages of pollination of their crops.

All local areas have their own rules and regulations. Our local Council has restrictions in some areas (though we are not affected) and to keep bees in Queensland you do have to register with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foresty (or DAFF), there is an annual fees; so check your area for local/state laws etc. that may apply prior to investing in a hive.

This remains a learning process and something we will progressively develop in further posts. Including the additional produce, their uses and benefits! 

For one as a hay fever sufferer I have always purchased local honey to assist in easing my symptoms. So we can look forward to plenty of honey baking recipes, hopefully Meade (honey wine), wax products- we already use beeswax wrap for food, so will definitely be experimenting with our own.

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