Buzz around backyard bees during lockdowns

Buzz around backyard bees during lockdowns

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FOR SALE: Victorian apiarist Bec McBride says the number of backyard bee enthusiasts is booming.

FOR SALE: Victorian apiarist Bec McBride says the number of backyard bee enthusiasts is booming.

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The number of backyard bee enthusiasts has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The number of bee hobbyists has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Numbers of newly registered beekeepers in Victoria has doubled in the past few years and there's been similar growth in South Australia and New South Wales, Victorian apiarist Bec McBride said.

"The pandemic has given people the opportunity to reconnect with their local community and get back to grass roots food production, and beekeeping is a logical step in backyard self-sufficiency," she said.

There are more than 14,000 beekeepers registered in Victoria, 95 per cent of them listed as recreational.

Ms McBride is offering her online and retail beekeeping supply business, Bec's Beehive Beekeeping Supplies, for sale.

The asking price has not been disclosed.

She said the basic start-up cost for the basic beekeeping items is less than $1000 including a protective suit, gloves, a smoker that helps control the bees, a hive tool, a bee brush, and the beehive with a colony of bees.

Her business has been operating for 10 years from a rural warehouse in the Dandenong Ranges, southeast of Melbourne, and is offered on a walk in, walk out basis.

Ms McBride says the phenomenal rise in backyard beekeeping across Australia has created strong demand for beekeeping supplies, with high retail demand switching to online business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the new owner doesn't necessarily need to be involved in the apiculture industry, although beekeeping knowledge would be an advantage.

"This is a thriving online and warehouse business with click and collect facilities and it really could be located anywhere. The addition of a showroom and extended opening hours would also help to meet demand," she said.

"We have an extensive network of Australian and global suppliers who provide top of the range equipment for backyard and commercial apiarists."

Expressions of interest can be sent to business@becsbeehive.com.au before April 30.

Ms McBride says she's finding it hard to keep up with the growth in the business as well as commitments to her BeeSmart Beekeeping Training and education courses and as a member of Australia's bee biosecurity taskforce.

"Beekeeping offers so much more than honey and reconnecting with our food source. Bees are now being recognised as helping to treat mental health concerns like ADHD and PTSD."

It's estimated honey and other hive products generate about $101 million a year to the Australian economy and their contribution as pollinators for agriculture services is estimated at $14.2 billion.

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The story Buzz around backyard bees during lockdowns first appeared on Farm Online.

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