Friday, March 10, 2006

New Zealand Beekeepers Focus on Honey’s Antibacterial Properties

It's Such a Honey of a Buzz
The New Zealand Herald, 3/10/2006

Take up beekeeping and never be bored again - that is what Paul and Sheryl Steens did, building up their business from two to three hives to more than 6000.

It started 23 years ago when Paul Steens gave up his day job as a butcher and culminated in last year's purchase of a 2000-hive Wairarapa operation that will allow Steens Honey to produce between 200 and 250 tonnes of honey each year.

Their main business is supplying active manuka honey to Comvita, Honey New Zealand and other international outlets (active honey has antibacterial properties)…

The Steens got a Technology New Zealand grant to help with the research.

"We're looking into where the antibacterial activity starts and what we could do to enhance the activity. Also as part of that study, we'll be asking what the activity is."

The firm has a tracking system to monitor all production levels and trace where the honey comes from…

Instead of the time-honoured couple of litres of honey for permission to put hives on farms, Steens Honey pays landowners for putting their hives in manuka.

"We're looking at getting manuka plantations started so, in dollar terms, we pay quite a bit. Landowners get a percentage based on the antibacterial activity of the honey and the volume. It's more profitable and sustainable than pine trees and gives people a vested interest."

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