Kurt, a self-confessed bee enthusiast, has been beekeeping for the past 5 years and running local business The Honeysmith for 3.5 years, which he established through crowdfunding. Currently Kurt keeps hives at a number of locations in the Canberra and surrounding area including the ANU grounds at Stromlo, a large residential property in Fraser, and farmland in Jerrabomberra. He also provides a number of other services including, but not limited to, building and supplying hives, hive hosting, swarm collection, and running beekeeping courses at Strathnairn Arts precinct.
Kurt is an advocate for sustainable beekeeping, a practice which includes not overworking the hives, not harvesting everything, regularly checking the hives and maintaining hive health, and ensuring minimal impact on native flora and fauna.
Kurt said last spring was a winner for bees and honey production, largely because of the proliferation of Capeweed and Paterson’s curse. Interestingly, the past few months have been lean as many plants appear to have favoured leaf growth rather than flowering due to the high rainfall and mild temperatures.
Kurt lives on a large suburban block in Fisher with his family. He grows a wide range of plants both native and exotic, and with varied flowering times to cover all seasons. They have been specially selected to suit Canberra’s challenging hot (and usually) dry summers, cold winters, and for their attractiveness to honeybees, native beneficial insects and other wildlife. Kurt only waters any new plantings until they are established. Kurt finds planting groups of plants together makes it easier for bees and other pollinators to forage.
Some of Kurt’s favourite plants for pollinators include Grevilleas with their extended flowering season and excellent drought tolerance, tea trees (Leptospermum), Eucalypts, Correas, Abelias, rosemary, lavender, thyme, borage, Agastache and cornflowers.
Interesting bee tidbits:
The Honeysmith honey can be purchased online or at the National Arboretum Curatorium, Chifley Grocer, The Markets Wanniassa and Boss Rural at Tharwa. For more: https://the-honeysmith.com.au/.