The Beekeeper

Old beehive lids

Beekeeping blast from the past

Every year we repaint our beehive lids twice: once in time for summer (painted white to reflect the heat), and once just before winter (painted mission brown to absorb heat). The aim is to keep our bees as comfy as possible so they feel good and can produce our medically-active, feel-good Manuka honey and also delicious eating honey from the Australian bush such as Ironbark, Yellow Box, Bloodwood and other seasonal honey.

Pure honey from our NSW honey farm www.The

The painting of the beehive lids is just one part of the process in maintaining the right temperature for the bees and in keeping moisture out of the hive too. We also use insulation, and over the years, and after lots of field tests, we’ve found 10-sheets (yes…exactly 10 sheets!) of newspaper in the lid, is the perfect insulation material…it’s not too bulky or heavy and performs better than an extra layer of masonite or synthetic material.

Bee hive lids being freshly painted on the Mid North Coast of NSW

This year, the team were getting ready for our summer beekeeping season, so we set about repairing some of the tin top lids that keep our bees covered and dry. Beekeeping is a business based solely on the health of the environment, so we re-use and repair material as much as possible. And as our family, the Brenton’s, have been beekeeping for multiple-generations, we use and repurpose lots of old equipment whenever we can.

Well, this time, repairing the tin lids took EXTRA LONG…because when we pulled apart the tin and the lid material, we discovered a treasure trove of 30+ year old newspapers that had been used for insulation (by Dad Kevin Brenton back in the late 1980’s). And it took so long because what Australian (beekeepers included) doesn’t gawk in horror at the price of real estate!?!

Old Australian newspapers discovered inside beehive lids during repairs

Yes, out came newspapers revealing: a special fixed interest rate of 13.9%! And Raine and Horne Pymble had a house on Livingstone Street in Pymble in walking distance to PLC advertised for $550,000 (which got us curious so we looked up current prices and saw houses there now range in the multi-millions. Gulp! (Might need a spoonful of Manuka honey to get that down).

Also interesting were the prices of Sydney rentals, such as Richardson & Wrench in Newtown offering a three-bedroom house for $195 per week. Reckon you’d be able to rent a place for that now?

Sydney real estate ads from the late 1980’s – found in beehive insulation

Anyway, we finally got back into the maintenance and replaced the old paper with fresh newspaper from 2022…so in about 30-years from now, someone will open the beehive lid, find a time capsule and get a shock to see interest rates in Australia were less than 3% and house prices were through the roof. Can only guess what we’ll be looking at in the papers that come out in the 2050’s…or if there even will be printed newspaper then. Hmmm….

We think in future we’ll just stick to just looking after the houses of our little worker bees, and the environment that they need to exist in too! One other way we do that in addition to maintaining and reusing equipment whenever we can, is by providing honey refills at the markets we attend. This saves extra packaging from being produced and means we can fill up your favourite jar or tub for you (just bring it nice and clean and dry). We’ve been doing this for years and the packaging waste this avoids really adds up.

You can see a list of the markets we attend with our honey here (though they are weather dependent). You’ll find us in Port Macquarie most weeks and sometimes at Bellingen too! We’re also happy to supply our honey in bulk to your favourite local shop so you can pick up our delicious, 100% pure and natural Australian bush honey, wherever you are in NSW – just ask your shopkeeper to get in touch with us for bulk honey sales. And if none of that works for you…you can always buy our honey online right here on this site. NB: When sending out our honey, we safely pack it using all recycled materials.

That’s all for now, it’s back to the bees for us! Hope you have a sweet week from the team at The BeekeeperĀ®.

Bees at sunset. Pic by NSW beekeeper Daryl Brenton of The Beekeeper