Close up and personal with Ian Ball, Commercial Beekeeper

Commercial beekeeper Ian Ball talks about the benefit is of using Nuplas plastic beehives.

Video Transcription

My name’s Ian Ball, I’m a commercial beekeeper up in the Swan Hill area.

I’ve had my own apiary now for probably the last six years… before that I’ve worked with my father, who… spent all his life as an apiarist, and then he worked with his father so I’m basically third-generation beekeeper.

I became a beekeeper primarily because i just… prefer to be working on my own, I always sort of have… in my own business

I enjoy being out in the country, out in the bush and, yeah, I always had that knowledge that had been basically handed down from my father and my grandfather, and that’s probably why I became a beekeeper.

Favourite part, well, apart from being out in the bush, I love that… but my favorite part with beekeeping would be… rearing my own queens.

You’re more or less… altering nature a little bit to produce something which probably wouldn’t have normally been produced had nature followed its own line.

But, yeah, definitely queen rearing would be my favorite part.

Probably reared quite a few hundred queens myself and currently running a few hundred hives.

Well, the local surroundings that bees would predominantly thrive in around here would be your river red gum, so along the Murray, along your creeks and that, and then that’s followed by your black box usually… from there in this area we can go out into the Mallee country… that seems to be quite good in years where it’s not in total drought, which it has been, but… yeah, generally your red gums, and then into your Mallee country.

It’s probably more of… what’s needed for nature to thrive and when nature thrives then the bees will thrive and that is, you know, if we can get decent rains then trees will set bud and flower and, you know, whatever time period they’re going to flower in,but, yeah, it’s mainly comes back to nature, if nature’s healthy then the bees will be healthy.

So long as they got a water source and so long as they’ve got some form of shade source for really hot weather.

Again, even if you had timber hives, you still wouldn’t want them in direct sunlight on a 45 degree day, put it that way.

But, yeah, as far as bees handling the summer heat you’ve got to have water, water close to them.

When I first got into my own apiary, I trialled about 20 odd plastic hives.

I wanted to know myself if they’d work… before I went into it full-on.

So i did that for a couple of years, kept bees in them, monitored them, and they were fine,
absolutely fine.

So that was why I got into using all plastic beehives.

There’s absolutely no maintenance that you have to do at all with these hives, putting them together is a matter of minutes… yeah, whereas you don’t have to repaint, you don’t have to… nail anything, it’s just screw, drill and screw, and that’s it. So, yeah, as far as maintenance goes there’s just, that’s not an issue with these hives.

Busy, busy working, that sounds funny, but that’s true.

Now, basically, yeah, if you can keep them on different honey flows, and good conditions, then that’s what bees love.

I can ring up if I’ve, if I need something urgent and they’ll do their utmost to get that product ready for me.

They’re really approachable if I’ve got any other questions or anything else that I want or need, then, yeah, they’re freely open to communication.

They’re robust, strong and… the bees seem to thrive in them.

So, I’ve had no negative effects with them, so yeah, I do like to use them.

Researching everything, and talking, If you can find an older beekeeper to talk to… listen to them.

But also, in saying that, don’t be afraid to try new things.