The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is an introduced species in Australia. Tasmania is one of many temperate parts of the world in which these bees thrive. As in other temperate areas, they have thrived to the extent where they have become the main pollinating agents for a large proportion of Tasmania’s food crops.

Colonies of these insects – ‘nature’s little wonders’ – produce honey that is surplus to their needs, in normal circumstances. So, if managed properly, we can benefit from their hard work.

An essential part of this management is ensuring good colony health, thus reducing the chance of disease. This then maximises the quality and quantity of the honey harvest into the future.

Tasmanian King Bee Honey is produced by bees managed in this way.

A typical year’s activity for a colony of the bees behind Tasmanian King Bee Honey

Spring

At the ‘home’ site; bee numbers increasing; some surplus honey available for harvesting in December

Summer

Hives moved to the Southern Forests, so the bees can forage on the leatherwood flowers; this is the time when most harvesting takes place

Autumn

Hived moved back to the home site; bee numbers decreasing; final harvesting for the year

Winter

Downsized colony; the bees survive cold nights by clustering in the centre of the hive

Some of the bee colonies are Italian bees (A.mellifera ligustica), others are Caucasian bees (A. mellifera caucasica).