Photo essay

Busy Bees

The beauty of beekeeping.

Matthew Keam and Andy McKay love their job as beekeepers. They have hives in various locations from the Coromandel through to Katikati and down to Matata, which ensures they have a diverse range of honeys. Currently, they collect pohutukawa, rewarewa, clover, manuka and bush honey. Sweet!

Matthew and Andy regularly inspect the hives to check for disease. They also check on the queen in each hive to see she’s still alive (so the hive doesn’t die), and to check she’s reproducing well (they’re able to check her eggs)

Smoke calms the bees, allowing the beekeepers to safely work on the hives

Slabs of beeswax are kept in storage. Sometimes it’s used to make lip balm and candles. It’s also been used in mushroom-growing workshops to plug holes in the wooden logs once they are innoculated with the fungus.

Photography by Jane Keam