Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bee Sustainable

Lovely buzzy bee in my Autumn garden...see the knees full of pollen...? I tried to get a closer photo of the happy bee but I couldn't get my camera to focus. Sigh. I take so many photos but I'm thwarted by my lack of photographic skills!

Did you know that the phrase 'The Bees Knees' arises because that is where bees keep their pockets (hive sacs) for gathering the good stuff?

I've wanted to keep bees for such a long time now, happy buzzing creatures who give me honey for my eating pleasure and pollinate my vegies and fruit! I used to love watching the big fat bumblebees lazily hovering from one flower to another as a child growing up in the UK. The bees over here in Australia are quite different but equally enchanting. However being severely allergic to bee stings, I looked into getting a native Australian beehive. Sadly, keeping stingless bees in Victoria is not recommended because it is outside of the natural geographic range of the stingless bees and they would probably die from the cold.

Bees are a vital part of the world's ecology and anything we can do to keep bees thriving is important. There is a serious worldwide decline in the honeybee population for a number of reasons, with severe consequences. They are the primary source of pollination for wild plants that nourish insects, animals, birds and other plants as well as plants that we grow for our food - if they continue to decline we will see serious impacts on the environment. If you want to add your voice to the global petition to ban neonicotinoid pesticides that are killing our bee population, please sign up here.

This weekend a lovely friend took me to visit her friend's new place, a place aptly called Bee Sustainable, owned by a lovely man called Rob.

Rob handmakes soap and candles from the honey and beeswax from his hives

Did you know that there are many different types of bee hive for the backyard! I like the simplicity and elegance of Rob's hives.
It seems that bee keeping is quite popular at the moment and rightfully so..the Intercontinental Melbourne Rialto Hotel in Melbourne has hives on its rooftop, they've had the hives a year now a pioneer in the field!  The hives are run by the kitchen. The beautiful Lorraine from the delicious blog Not Quite Nigella visited Melbourne and posted up pictures of the beehives that the chefs keep on the roof. I have to visit it of these days!
The hives and the lavender for the Italian honey bees

One of the bee hive frames - and Chris

Ladro have bee hives at each of its sites. Their hives are run by a not-for-profit group called Melbourne City Rooftop Honey (thanks Chris!). 

Well, now I just have to convince Mr Bok...


  1. I am seriously considering getting native stingless bees, I don't like honey but they are great for aiding pollination and our council gives them out for free as long as you have a pesticide free garden.

    I do miss those lovely fat lazy Bumblebees, they were so benign compared to the horrible European wasps that had us all running around screaming.

  2. Mrs. Bok, so happy to meet you and join you here. thank you for this morning's post, and making me smile when i saw your "girls" (i think your photographs are perfectly lovely - they capture wonderful moments!). a bouquet to you today!-k.

  3. I've had my girls for about two years...I waited
    a very long time for them. My MIL was allergic and since this was her farm I couldn't keep them. Shortly after she passed my husband bought me my first hive. I have been stung once in these 2 years. I keep a couple bee son is allergic. I wish I had started my beekeeping a long time ago...they are fun, have doubled my garden produce and fruit production, reduced our white sugar consumption by 3/4's, and I've been able to make a bit of $$ from the sale of honey, pollen, wax and capturing swarms.

  4. Wonderful post! Bees are such fascinating creatures! Good luck convincing Mr. Bok. =)

  5. Very interesting thanks. There's a guy near us who has set up about 30 hives all over the place in people's backyards. He looks after them, they house them. You can read about it here

  6. Aww thankyou so much for the kind words! bees are such fascinating creatures aren't they? I can't wait to share the story about the Canadian hotel with bees with you too. The issues in North America are sadly at a critical level so thanks for writing about it! :)

  7. Hello! Thank you so much for your visit and comment to my blog. Loved having you stop by.

    Also, thanks for sharing the information about the bees! Susan

  8. I am so impressed that someone with a severe bee allergy would even consider keeping them! The bee shop looks like a fun place to while away some time.. ;-)

  9. Oh I miss bees... I've only seen one in the year that we've been here... gxo

  10. Hi Greenfumb! I would definitely get them if I could...especially if your council gives them away!
    Hi Georgie! I can't believe you have no bees where you are. You must do! Somewhere! Grow heaps of lavender...and basil...and parsley and let them flower and maybe you'll attract them in.
    Lynda, it's stories like yours that make me even more keen to get them!
    Celia, I hope I don't get stung but I don't plan on it and my enthusiasm for getting them just makes me overlook things like that :) I nearly died as a child from a bee sting but I haven't been stung since.
    Lorraine, I'm looking forward to that post, seeing restaurants getting into it really makes it seem more mainstream and has you thinking that if a busy restaurant can manage it, then so can I!
    DesertHen, I'm definitely onto Mr Bok! I'll wear him down...eventually...
    Hi Karen and Susan - lovely to see you both here!
    VG, thanks for the info, a very interesting character I'd love to meet!

  11. Great post, I love bees, and that places looks fantastic!

  12. It was a great pleasure and very stimulating to have a visit from Mrs Bok and her lovely friend at the Bee Shop. Thank you for all the ideas; come bye again some time soon.

  13. What an interesting post :) The Bee Shop looks wonderful, wish we had one! Mo

  14. Mr Bok just sent me this link!

    Hi Dixiebelle and Mo! :)
    Rob, I'll come and visit you again! Love your shop.

  15. Hello dear, I was directed to you from Robert at Bee Sustainable. Well done. I have been enjoying reading about your adventures. Take care, Jodi.

  16. Hi guys,
    the Hotel shown above is the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto (I know, because its me in the photo)Not the Langham.
    We have been running our own hives for almost a year, pioneering in the field. The Ladro's hives are run by a non-profit group called Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, whereas our kitchen run the hives as a hobby on top of operations!

  17. Chris, so sorry I got that wrong and didn't correct it until now when I've seen your comment! Thank you - and I think you've done amazing work with your hives, hope they are surviving the winter!


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