Our unique isolation is paradise for bees, with WA honey rated among the best tasting in the world. Learn all about the sweet rewards of beekeeping.
Warning, Beeware! This entire article is swarming with bee puns.
Western Australian: A Unique Bee Paradise
Australia is currently experiencing a golden age of backyard beekeeping and arguably, Western Australia is at the forefront of all the buzz. Our state is the bees knees of Australia, because our unique isolation has given us diverse flora that creates amazing tasting honey. Not just that, but along with vigilant bio-security control and continued disease reporting, our honeybees are yet to be affected by many exotic pests and diseases that have otherwise destroyed beehives in the eastern states of Australia and around the word.
Sweet, Sweet Jarrah Honey
Honey in Western Australia is rated among the best tasting (and medically beneficial) in the world. Research confirmed our very own Jarrah honey has special antibacterial and antimicrobial healing effects, making it a worthy alternate therapy to combat infection. The Jarrah tree (Eucalyptus marginata) is unique only to WA, being a large forest tree of up to 40m in height that can live up to 1,000 years. It is usually found in the Jarrah forest, extending from Gingin (north of Perth) to as far south as Albany.
But honey isn’t the only sweet reward. Bees help increase pollination of our indigenous flora too, with about 65% of the crops we grow in Australia depending on bee pollination.
My First Beekeeping Experience: Thanks to Perth Bee Supplies
Backyard beekeeping in Western Australia is buzzing with opportunity for amateurs and professionals alike. There is potential to earn money on honey and other bee products that can be harvested and put to good use, including beeswax, royal jelly and bee pollen (which is rich in protein and used as a healthy food supplement). Plus, you would also be helping to build a sustainable and healthy bee population for a secure, future environment. Backyard beekeepers have also witnessed dramatic improvements in their gardens – more and larger fruits, flowers and vegetables. Truly, adding a hive or two in your backyard really makes the garden more productive and prolific.
To learn more about what it takes to be a beekeeper for a day – Robert* from Perth Bee Supplies kindly invited me to tag along with him on his latest beekeeping expedition to learn more about the tasks and rewards of backyard beekeeping.
2017 UPDATE*: Robert no longer owns Perth Bee Keeping Supplies. Eric from Fremantle is now the man in charge.
Opening one of the frames, we can see the black wire. This wire gives added support to the wax foundation.
I had an absolutely AWESOME time following Robert around during his hive inspections. To feel thousands of bees buzzing around you is such an adrenaline rush! I wasn’t at all scared of getting stung. So long as you ‘suit up’ properly, visit the hives on days where the weather is optimum (sunny), use the smoker properly and stay alert of the bees behaviour – you can avoid getting stung too often.
Want to become a beekeeper?
Beekeeping is a great pursuit that doesn’t have to take up a huge amount of time, no matter how many hives you are looking after. Like with any new tasks in life, the more you practice, the more you become efficient at the tasks. When starting out, assembling the hives and putting all the equipment together may take a few days, but after that’s finished, you will only need to inspect your hives about once a fortnight during spring and summer. Bees look after themselves most of the time and are independent.
Now, I don’t want to honey-coat anything, but you should check you meet these requirements first:
- You are NOT allergic to bee stings.
- Do you enjoy botany (plants) and entomology (insects)?
- Are you free from allergies and able to work with bees?
- Are you able to work in isolated areas?
- Are you willing to work long and irregular hours?
- Are you able to lift heavy weights?
- Are you happy to work alone?
- Are you able to keep accurate records?
- Does your local Government permit you to beekeep in your backyard?
If you answer yes to all these, then sounds like beekeeping may be for you. To find out if you like working with bees, go to a beekeeping society’s meeting, like The Western Australian Apiarist Society for example – many of them hold regular field days to encourage newcomers to experience what a hive inspection involves.
Beekeeping Rules and Regulations in WA
The following information was taken from the Department of Agriculture and Food website. To become a beekeeper in WA, you must register with the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA). You will then be issued with a license and brand identification which must be printed on all your beekeeping equipment, and will also receive a complimentary BeeInformed magazine three times a year.
The costs of registering (as at 28th October 2015):
- Beekeepers license – $65 for three year
- Annual Agricultural Produce Commission Fee – $15 + $1.10/hive (this fee assists in pest and disease surveillance).
It’s also important to note that each local government has rules and regulations in conjunction with keeping bees in residential areas. Please visit your local government website to find specific rules and regulation that apply to you. For example:
City of Joondalup – Not permitted, in residential areas.
Contact Perth Bee Supplies
Perth Bee Supplies are passionate about providing quality products and quality service – catering not only for the smaller hobbyist starting out, but also having the capacity to supply wholesale to larger enterprises if required. Products are shipped weekly, offering some of the cheapest prices nationally. Thanks Robert for the beekeeping tour!
2017 UPDATE: Robert no longer owns Perth Bee Keeping Supplies. Eric from Fremantle is now the man in charge.
Beekeeping Industry & Further Reading Links:
The Western Australian Apiarist Society – an amateur group meets at the Department of Agriculture and Food, 3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth at 7.30pm on the first Wednesday of each month.
Aussie Apiarists Online – This web site is a listing of Beekeeper Clubs and Associations available in Australia.
Perth Bee Supplies – Perth based business with 24 hour online shop that is passionate about providing quality beekeeping products and quality service throughout Australia.
Now let’s finish this article off with terrible bee jokes. Let them sink in and sting ya:
- Why was the bee so hard to understand? It was a mumble bee.
- Why did the bee go to the dermatologist? It had hives.
- Who is the bees favourite composer? Bee-thoven.
- What bee keeps you healthy? Vitamin Bee.
- What kind of bees are the smartest? Spelling bees.
- What do you call a bee that lives in America? A USB
- Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs.
I hope all the bee puns didn’t give you the hives, because they kept dripping out of my mind like warm honey. I could wax on forever but I’m going to go now and listen to some music by Sting and the B-52′s. Kids, don’t forget to comb your hair and wasp your face. I’ll bee back.
If you can think of any more bee puns or jokes – please share them below in the comments!