I’ve always loved bees.
Maybe not right up on me or getting too close with their stingers, but my love for photography really blossomed with bees, chasing them around and just trying to get a little snapshot of their busy little lives. One of my first ever favourite photos, that got me into photography was in fact of a bee.
This one actually, back in 2004…gosh I think I’ve come a bit of a long way!
But if I thought bees were pretty cool already, they were absolutely elevated to new heights when I got to explore one of Bee One Third’s rooftop hives, as my Sunday activity at Eat Drink Blog 2014, with the founder Jack.
We met up first at Gerard’s bar, where we watched delicious honey treats be made up for us to sample some of the glorious honey that was the result of the rooftop hives. Sopressata topped with honeycomb on a buttermilk cracker, which were deliciously and richly charred, were a beautiful balance of savoury and sweet, and the honey mousse, with honey jelly, honeycomb and honey financiers might sound like honey overdose…but believe me, they were far from it, more like just right!
As we greedily nibbled away on everything we could get our hands on, Jack was the epitome of laid back, talking ever so fondly about his bees with a quiet and determined passion. Bees are in danger of getting wiped out, with less flowers for them to pollinate and feed from, as we continue to destroy much of their home. Yet they provide such an important service to our eco system, in the maintenance and balance of it.
And they are such interesting creatures! Jack tells us how the Queen’s personality dictates the personality of the hive, the way the workers and drones work, how when it comes time to mate that the Queen’s fly over 6 feet high into the sky, to ensure only the strongest of the drones can mate with her; a case of survival of the fittest here. And did you know that the Queen only does these flights 2 or 3 times in her lifetime? Each time she fills up on enough eggs to produce babies for months on end!
We also get to sample ‘bee food’ as well, and I’m absolutely smitten with the gorgeous array of colours, a stunning gradient of yellows and oranges. It’s a little bit sweet, with a very chewy texture and what some of us describe as a slightly fishy flavour. Bizarre, but quite tasty.
We’re only all too eager to don our very sexy bee outfits, and climb the stairs to the rooftop, to the little village that Jack’s bees call home.
Jack burns a bit of sage (I think), which lets the bee’s know we have arrived, and I think encourages them to come out, which makes it easier to get to the hives.
Aren’t they just adorable?
Hang on while I just spam the blog with pictures of bees because I think they’re so darned cute.
Jack points out to us a couple of bees who are laden with pollen, which makes them look like they’re wearing great big yellow clown pants.
As well as pointing out a couple of bees that are just about to hatch, and helps one or two out, who creep out, shake off their wings and look like they’re just about ready to work straight off the bat.
Despite the density of the bees there, and the fact that we are prying around their home, the bees are very relaxed, I suppose because we are too.
I curse myself for not bringing up my macro lens with me to Brisbane, as I could have easily spent all afternoon sitting on the rooftop, playing with the bees.
I can also certainly attest that the honey these bees produce is just stunning, and I’m fascinated when we descend back down the stairs later to sample the different honeys from different rooftops, just how different they all are. Clear, cloudy, thick, runny, golden, yellow, there’s all sorts!
I become particularly smitten with the James Street honey, which is smooth, a rich golden amber and just lazily oozes out of the jar when you pour it.
My only complaint currently is that Bee One Third doesn’t have really have stockists outside of Brisbane, so will simply have to plan to seriously stock up next time I’m in town…