As the man at the Kununurra markets with the honey stall, Bob McFadden produces thousands of kilograms of varietal honey per year.
Originally from Perth, his curiosity about bees began as a teenager when helping tend to two hives belonging to a friend’s father.
“My friend’s dad was highly allergic, two stings would have killed him,” Mr McFadden said.
“We thought he was crazy, but when I asked him why he did it he told me ‘because it’s fascinating, you open the hive and it’s like a whole world of its own’.”
These words remained with him, as 34 years and a family inheritance later he decided to reawaken his young adult hobby and purchase a beekeeping business from Perth.
Relocating to Kununurra after a trip to Darwin to visit his brother, he launched Bob’s Bees on July 1, 2006.
Honey produced by his bees is now sold from his business based on Weaber Plains Road and at the Kununurra Markets.
Flavour, texture, aroma and the sugar content of his honeys all vary, depending on the type of flora the bee hives are placed near.
Keeping the honey varietal is a strong selling point and tourists claim to have come from as far as Bunbury to buy honey from grey box flowers. Their honey goes well with coffee and tea.
Eucalypt, grevillea, chia and bloodwood are other popular honey varieties.
Three boxes make up a hive, with the queen bee and her brood in the bottom and two boxes on top to collect honey.
Smoke pumped through a bee smoker helps to calm the bees so the top box can be collected.
As many as 72 frames of honeycomb are placed into a large extractor which spins at a rate of 1.5 revolutions per minute, collecting the honey which is filtered into a large container.
Mr McFadden cites his favourite part of this unique hobby turned- business as a moment late in the evening which few would have experienced.
When returning to the hive, thousands of bees will flap their wings to evaporate excess water in nectar in a process called roaring.
“To walk into an apery, on twilight, when the smell is of nectar and honey and the sound from the bees is roaring, it’s pretty amazing,” he said.“I am lucky, it started off as a hobby, but I love bees and people love honey so the two go together.”
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