Jason Trowbridge’s secret hobby

Jason Trowbridge is a well-known face around Ponsonby. He has been doing real estate deals for 28 years.

What motivated you into producing your own honey – how did you learn? Years ago, I lived in a Spear grass flat in Queenstown and was fascinated with the beehives that were scatted around various paddocks of local farms.

A weekend course was the beginning here in Ponsonby about six years ago. My exact words were “Oh, I am busy just drop a few hives off and I will learn on the run..” No – big mistake! After the weekend course, I said “Ah, yes. please, one hive.” And that’s how it started. You need some knowledge and desire and you need to have a proactive not reactive mind set.”

Is it dangerous? Have you ever been stung? Yes, only once but it was actually a bee that crawled up my trouser leg, not much you can do. They are insects of adventure and, yes, I was stung but it’s really no more than a pin prick as long as you are not allergic. Which thankfully I am not.

How do you harvest the honey? I choose to harvest my honey in a natural, relaxed way removing full honey trays and cutting the wax with the honey.

Do you supply to any retail outlets? It is illegal in New Zealand to sell honey that is not extracted in a commercial registered kitchen and I have no desire to sell it. I enjoy giving it as gifts to my friends and family.

Bess are an awesome part of natural life, another added bonus is that all my fruit trees and berries are laden with fruit as the bees pollinate the entire garden along with many neighbours’ gardens in the area.

Could climate change lead to the extinction of bees? As one of the most important pollinators in the world, bees are crucial for food production, human livelihoods and biodiversity. Unfortunately, bees are declining in abundance in many parts of the world due to climate change and many various pollutants.

Bees play a crucial role in the Earth’s ecosystem. They are essential for biodiversity, as they have a symbiotic relationship with flowering plants, and they are an important part of the food chain. They pollinate plants and trees, crops that we rely on as food sources, and the cotton we wear against our skins. It’s even thought that they contribute to reducing exhaust fumes in cities by filtering them out of the atmosphere.

Left to themselves, bees are harmless creatures, busy running the hive in their various allocated roles, working all day long and serving and protecting the queen bee.

All they need from you is a safe base to come back to at the end of a working day, and in return for this you get to watch the fascinating way in which these insects work together. The bee dance is simply amazing to witness first-hand.

When you ‘keep’ bees in this manner, you come to realise that these humble, hardworking insects keep the natural order of things buzzing in a way that humans can only partially understand, but that we can certainly learn to appreciate more.

Have you ever used the phrase ‘the bee’s knees’ to describe something of high quality or excellence? Such is the world of the bees. When you become a backyard beekeeper, you open up a complex, beautiful facet of the natural world. And you’ll never want to look back.