Covered from head to toe, Scott Bevis lifts a frame from his hive carefully and sees his bees have been busy since he last checked it out.
The frame is full even though it is at the end of peak honey production.
Smoking the bees has been relaxing the hive but Scott is alert. He has a great respect for bees and how they work together, but he knows that they can sting straight away. The local from Margate and the General Manager of Bee Australia, has been stung one too many times.
The European honey bees temperaments differ and depending on the weather and what’s going on in the hive it can have a strong effect on their mood. “Some days they’re just nasty. I never trust the bees,” he says.
Four years ago, Scott, 46, took up beekeeping as a hobby because he was having trouble finding pure honey, and later turned it into a business. Prior to bee’s Scott was a Telecommunications design engineer and after 21 years in the industry he was looking for a change, so he took the plunge.
He sells honey from hives he has at four locations in the Moreton Bay area but also supplies equipment from his Rothwell base to amateur and commercial operators.
“I went into this only as a hobby ... now it’s a full time job and I’m a small business owner in the industry,” he says.
Scott appreciates the bee-keeping science and says there's plenty of work in the background to make sure the hive is healthy.
He says the surrounding environment is affecting the honey 's taste and colour, particularly the nearby flowers. The season always plays a part in this.
Coming into spring and summer is the best season for honey production. He says bees ramp up production and there is an rise in the number of bees hatching too.
Pesticides, diseases and pests have caused a worldwide decline in bees, but Scott says that the impact in Australia has so far not been as great due to strict biosecurity and quarantine laws and the fact that we are a "island."
He says eventually though there could be problems. “We’re working as a collective community to try to manage that before it happens,” he says.
There is also plenty the rest of us can do to help – including planting and looking after bee-friendly flowers and shrubs.
Visit beeaustralian.com.au or phone 3103 6721 for more information.