Beehive project gets city buzzing

Opinions on Hamilton are diverse and plentiful - but few have pondered what the city actually tastes like.

The answer to that riddle could soon be revealed in specially produced jars of honey by Horsham Downs company Sweetree Honey.

Owners Martin and Stephanie Lynch have struck up a partnership with Hamilton City Council in which 45 beehives will be put at three of the city's most popular attractions - Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum.

The honey will be sold at the Hamilton Farmers Market, Hamilton Gardens shop and also fed to honey-eating creatures at the zoo. Martin Lynch said honey harvested from the three sites would be blended and retail for about $13 for a 500-gram jar. The first batch is expected to be available from March.

"I'm really looking forward to how it all works out," Lynch said.

"The honey from Hamilton Gardens is going to be very interesting and we don't really know what we're going to get because of the variety of plants there."

The 45 hives are expected to eventually produce up to two tonnes of honey.

"In the height of summer the hives will add 1.5 million bees to the city. Those who live within three to five kilometres of the hives should notice an increase in bees."

Zoo curator Samantha Kudeweh said the sweet treat would be given to the zoo's honey-eating birds such as the tui as well as primates.

"We'll give it to our primates in sparing amounts because we don't want them to eat too much of that sort of thing. It's good for enrichment or when we are training animals and we can use it as a reward. Also if we have to medicate animals it's an easy way to get them to take their medicine."

Just like humans, primates have a sweet tooth and do not take much encouragement to partake in a spoonful.

Originally published in the Waikato Times, Dec 2014


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