Dunedin, the place to Bee!
The significance of having a thriving bee population in our city can’t be understated according to Murray Rixon.
Rixon, a Mosgiel native who trained at the Dunedin Botanic Garden before spending time in the UK at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, is the co-founder of Rentahive, a Dunedin based bee and Beehive Company that provides fully managed hives of industrious honeybees to local clients with domestic gardens, lifestyle blocks, and rural land.
Providing top quality wax-dipped hive boxes for an annual rental - in a range of vibrant colors to suit any garden - Rentahive’s roughly 50ish customers spread throughout the Dunedin area receive a hive for their garden, complete and expert hive management from the Rentahive team, and a whopping 12.5kg of delicious and nutritious packaged honey extracted from their very own hive in late summer.
Some of those hives are located in Dunedin schools, where Rentahive donates hives and spends time speaking and educating pupils about bee life and their unique and important place in our world.
“We do a lot of work with the schools”, Rixon tells me. “It’s the belief that you’re doing something worthy for the generation that’s going to follow us.”
“A few decades ago there would have been feral colonies and wild colonies of bees all throughout the city because of old buildings, old trees that kind of thing. But in the modern, urban environment we live in, colonies of bees don’t get the opportunity to choose their own place. There’s a benefit for people who have an interest in bees, and the benefit that bees bring us in pollination of fruits and vegetables in our gardens, it’s also important that people are able to provide their own honey from their garden.”
Rentahive’s bees are specially bred for calm and docility, and Rixon stresses the importance of sourcing good quality bees with a good temperament for any aspiring keepers.
With the advent of the devastating Varroa mite in NZ and the much-reported worldwide bee crisis, bees are in need of our support more than ever: as Rixon says, “We only have to look around ourselves as a race, and ask ourselves how many fruits, vegetables and trees we rely on. It’s remarkable the diversity of ways in which bees benefit us. There’s no alternative.”
“If we don’t help, we’re going to be in trouble.”
If you’re considering doing your bit for the bees, Rixon recommends the Dunedin Beekeepers Club as a good place to start for the hobbyist keeper. Check them out online here:
Post submitted by Sam Valentine
Photography by Siala and Gamo Farani-Tomlin