Through our honey bees we are committed to supporting ethical and sustainable food production — starting on our back doorstep in northern Tasmania. We supply European honey bees for crop pollination and seed production, produce small batches of raw, cold-extracted honey, and create a limited range of thoughtfully curated natural beeswax products.
WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD AND FIBRE PRODUCTION. OUR ORIGINS ARE IN AGRICULTURE — IT IS IN OUR BLOOD AND AT THE VERY CORE OF OUR BEING.
We purchased our first four bee hives in 2018 after a trip to North America with friends, to visit our son Sam and his friend Hugh on their gap ‘years’. It was during this trip we first became aware of the decline in the honey bee population, due to Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), which is threatening global food security. The following year we returned to visit family and friends in Oregon, where we learned more about the plight of bees and the challenges facing farmers who rely on bees as pollinators in the northern hemisphere, where Varroa mite is taking hold. The good news is that Australia is the only country in the world that currently remains free of the tiny mite that is decimating the world’s honey bees. And in Tasmania, we even export millions upon millions of precious bees to North America every year to replenish stocks.
The seeds of an idea were sown during our travels and Herbert & Co Honey was conceived. We currently have 34 hives and plan to continue to grow our business.
Through Herbert & Co we are focussing on providing crop pollination services to farmers across northern Tasmania. In the future we are keen to work alongside other Tasmanian beekeepers to export live bees to countries where honey bee populations are declining. In the meantime, it’s all about learning to manage our hives and keep our bees happy and healthy while supporting the vital food supply chain here in Tasmania.
Herbert & Co honey bees are crop pollinators first and honey producers second. We only harvest our honey in small batches, when the season is bountiful and the crops our bees are pollinating are in full flower. We make sure plenty of honey is left for our bees to remain strong and healthy.
Our bees are European honey bees (Apis mellifera), a species of bee that was introduced to Australia with the European settlers, to produce honey, but also to pollinate the European crops they brought with them.
An estimated 65 per cent of agricultural and horticultural crops introduced to Australia following European settlement require external sources of pollination (e.g. insects, birds, winds or bats). Some of these crops are 100 per cent reliant on insect pollinators, such as honey bees. The number of honey bee hives required per crop depends on multiple factors.
What does this mean to you? Let’s think about it this way — one in every three mouthfuls of food depends on pollinators like the honey bee. At Herbert & Co, we are committed to building our hives and helping secure healthy crop production — for you, our bees and our planet.