“I arrived to Port Melbourne, Australia, on 16th May 1968 on the ship Galileo Galilei from Genoa, Italy.

I started working with the bees in 2013.

The enthusiastic teacher, Valentin Lenko taught me a lot and helped me with the set up.

I visit some beekeepers festivals when non members are welcome.

I do not participate at the bee and honey shows: some people do not like to share the information.

At the moment I have 2 beehives in my backyard at Rye, Mornington Peninsula.

The type of bees I keep are Italian, Australian and Slovenian bees, Kranjska sivka (The Carniolan Grey).

My bees are on the pasture in my backyard with lots of fruit trees, grapevine, decorative plants and flowers.
I mostly have the Tea tree honey and Manuka – all from the native plants at Rye.
I usually harvest up to 180kg of honey per year.
I prepare propolis as well.
Bees collect a red or brown resinous substance from tree buds, used by them to fill crevices and to seal and varnish honeycombs.
I then scrape the substance from the crevice and mix it with the alcohol.
The tincture is very healthy taken by up to 10 drops orally per day, or used as well for skin blemishes, rashes and wounds.
I sell honey privately or give it as a gift.
I enjoy most when I get more and more honey from my bees.
The honey crystalises and keeping it out of the fridge is nice and runny.
It is much pleasure working with the bees.
I keep learning more and more.
At times I buy a new queen bee.
When a new queen bee is born, the old one gathers her worker bees and they leave the hive – they form a bee swarm usually on a branch of a tree.
The swarm is collected into another beehive.
Bees are unbelievable: no matter where you put the beehive, they will always find their own home again.”
Recorded by Draga Gelt

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Photo – Draga Gelt