Tasmanian honey producers won a slew of awards of the Australian Bee Congress last weekend, showing the state punches above its weight when it comes to quality honey products.
Australian Honey Products owner Lindsay Bourke won firsts in the international prize for his leatherwood honey, as well as light amber honey and honey mead.
“Tasmanians won six of the 18 gold medals, but Tasmania has only 2 per cent of beekeepers in Australia,” Mr Bourke said.
“We had bags of seconds and thirds as well.
“We’re the only state that has assured honey flow each year,” he said.
Tasmania has got a lot of passionate beekeepers who are good at sourcing good quality honey.Nicola Charles
Other Tasmanian winners included Mawbanna-based Blue Hills Honey and southern entrants Heritage Honey and Hedley Hoskinson.
Blue Hills Honey won a first for white liquid honey, first and second for their beeswax and a first and second for two grades of manuka honey.
Co-owner Nicola Charles said Tasmania was very well represented in the winners.
“Tasmania took out a number of awards,” Mrs Charles said.
“Apart from the beautiful environment, [Tasmania has] got a lot of passionate beekeepers who are good at sourcing good quality honey.
“It does make it easier to sell a product when you can benchmark it against the best,” she said.
Mrs Charles said more than 900 people attended the Australian Bee Congress, making it a good opportunity to learn from the speakers and engage with her peers.
“We learnt a lot about bees and pollination. You learn by engaging with other people,” she said.
Another hot topic during the congress was the discovery of varroa mite at the Port of Melbourne last week.
Many of the international congress attendees shared their experiences of dealing with varroa mite.
“Victoria has the best quarantine, but we need money to go into biosecurity so we are protected,” Mr Charles said.
“We are quite fortunate at the moment. Varroa is everywhere else in the world. If [varroa mite] got here it would be something we’d have to live with.
“It really knocked the New Zealand industry in half,” she said.
The varroa mites detected in Victoria are not expected to spread to Tasmania.
Class 1 International honey: First – Lindsay Bourke, Australian Honey Products
Class 2 manuka MGO range 263-999: Third – Robert Charles, Blue Hills Honey
Class 3 manuka MGO range 83-262: Second – Robert Charles, Blue Hills Honey; third – Lindsay Bourke, Australian Honey Products
Class 4 liquid honey white: First – Robert Charles, Blue Hills Honey; third – Peter Norris, Heritage Honey
Class 5 liquid honey light amber: First – Lindsay Bourke, Australian Honey Products; third – Hedley Hoskinson
Class 6 golden honey: Second – Jeff Bourke, Australian Honey Products
Class 9 granulated honey fine: First and second – Hedley Hoskinson; third – Peter Norris, Heritage Honey
Class 15 beeswax yellow: First – Robert Charles, Blue Hills Honey
Class 17 mead sweet: First – Lindsay Bourke, Australian Honey Products; third – Yeonsoon Bourke- Australian Honey Products.