Sydney surgeon Gavin Sandercoe has always had an interest in bees, but it was only last year that he decided to roll up his sleeves and try beekeeping, hoping the hobby might yield a better veggie crop and some honey.
When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, the bees offered a welcome relief to being stuck inside, especially for Dr Sandercoe who had to close down his western Sydney surgery given the COVID-19 restrictions and pre-planned renovations.
“The last month, we’ve been catching swarms, painting boxes, putting frames and wax frames together, in among home schooling,” he said. “It’s been really good because it’s something the kids get involved in. It’s a good family thing to do whilst we are locked in the house.”
When the bees swarmed in September, the family expanded their collection to another two hives.
“I’ve been lucky the bees have given me something to do, as soon as we stop operating and closed the office during the renovations, the bees kicked in and said, ‘here’s something to do’,” Dr Sandercoe said.
“I could see things and learn a whole stack faster [about bees] than if I was working 40 hours a week.”
While Dr Sandercoe is still waiting to see whether the bees will help his veggie patch, he said family, neighbours and friends have enjoyed the fresh honey. Last season they collected about eight litres of honey but are expecting about 20 this time.
“It’s an easy thing to give people to say, ‘thanks for being in my life’, and it doesn’t cost the earth,” he said.