Honey, the gig is gold

13th October 2017 5:00 AM
APIARISTS: Ben and Darren Pratt attend to their hives on a local Macadamia farm. APIARISTS: Ben and Darren Pratt attend to their hives on a local Macadamia farm. Mike Knott BUN091017BEE2

IT'S the sweet life that raises Bundaberg Honey owner Darren Pratt from his bed each morning.

Mr Pratt started honey farming three years ago and won't look back now he and son Benjamin have mastered bee-keeping.

Speaking with Rural Weekly between "robbing the hives”, Mr Pratt said the business was buzzing.

BUNDABERG HONEY: Darren Pratt's hives on the farm.
BUNDABERG HONEY: Darren Pratt's hives on the farm. Mike Knott BUN091017BEE19

Benjamin is learning the ins and outs of the bee business and prides himself on selling the product at Bundaberg's Shalom Market each Sunday.

They own 200 hives and every double hive contains between 30,000-35,000 bees.

The Bundaberg hives produce about 12-15 tonnes of honey each year, with a variety of flavours.

The most popular flavour is the macadamia, which also has the shortest time frame in which to work.

APIARIST: Darren and Ben Pratt suit-up to check bee hives on a local Macadamia farm.
APIARIST: Darren and Ben Pratt suit-up to check bee hives on a local Macadamia farm. Mike Knott BUN091017BEE11

The apiarists said there was one chance each year to have the bees at the right place at the right time to get the full flavour of the macadamia.

"There's about a six-week window with the bees where you have to act fast,” Mr Pratt said.

"You only get one chop at this per year.”

The macadamia is native to Australia and starts flowering in August and September.

The flowers are attractive to bees for three days after blossoming.

APIARIST: Darren Pratt attending to hives on a local Macadamia farm.
APIARIST: Darren Pratt attending to hives on a local Macadamia farm. Mike Knott BUN091017BEE7

Bundaberg Honey will average about two-and-a-half tonnes of the macadamia flavour in the six-week season.

Mr Pratt said some people didn't realise the flavours of honey came from the trees in which the bees collected pollen and nectar.

Bundaberg Honey produces flavours including blueberry, strawberry, iron bark, mixed shrub, mixed gum and Bundaberg blossom.

They use double hives to manufacture the golden goodness, which is sold as 100% pure honey with no artificial flavours or colours.

"It's all pure and there's no heating,” he said.

"Once you heat honey you start to lose the good bacteria, the stuff that's really good for you.”

APIARIST: Ben and Darren Pratt suit-up to check bee hives on a local Macadamia farm.
APIARIST: Ben and Darren Pratt suit-up to check bee hives on a local Macadamia farm. Mike Knott BUN091017BEE12

He said there was a science behind making quality honey, which included having the queen bee excluded between the two hives.

"This process will keep the hives healthy,” he said.

Mr Pratt welcomed the recent weather, saying the rain would help more flowers around the region to bloom.

For more information on Bundaberg Honey phone Darren Pratt on 0409 921 600.