Comvita Beekeeper Spotlight: Meet Johannes
Humans have been beekeeping for nearly 10,000 years, cultivating safe and healthy places for bees to form thriving colonies. Some of the oldest parts of that tradition are alive and well at Comvita, where we’ve been beekeeping since 1974 (and for one of our founders, since the 1920s!). It’s important that we pass down the craft of beekeeping to new generations, and blend the old ways with the new to create the world’s #1 UMF™ Manuka Honey. So we’d like to introduce you to the beekeepers blending modern science and heritage tradition, passionately stewarding the bees and the ecosystem to create healthy, sustainable honey.
This is a conversation we had with Comvita Beekeeper Johannes Treloar.
Wanganui, New Zealand
How did you get involved in beekeeping (and when)?
I was homeschooled, and a couple of times I went on a field trip to a beekeeper’s operation. The first time I was still quite young, so nothing clicked, but the second time I went when I was older, I got an interest in bees and thought it would be awesome to have bees at home to make my own honey. The beekeeper was also asking for a couple of guys for work experience, so I signed up for it. I didn't get the work experience, but my father had mentioned to his friend who worked in the honey industry about my interest. That friend sat next to a beekeeper at a beekeeping conference, who said that he manages an operation in Wanganui, my hometown, and had just lost a couple of staff. My father's friend mentioned he knew someone from that town that is interested in beekeeping. So I got a phone call from my father's friend, at the age of 16, that I had to call this beekeeper and ask about the job. That's what I did, and an interview later, life as I knew it would change.
What do you love about beekeeping?
Being able to work with such cool animals which make amazing products, and getting to go outdoors and see places I haven't seen before.
What have you learned in beekeeping or from bees that can apply to other areas of life?
Order and efficiency.
What part of your beekeeping practices are based in old traditions? What part of the practice has been influenced by modern practices/technologies?
The principle of managing a hive has always been the same, but the ways we can manage hives has changed a lot, with more variety of practices, and machinery etc.
The health of bees is so important to Comvita customers. What practices do we employ that keep the long-term health of the hive in mind?
We use our experience we've learned over the seasons to improve management of hives to keep them in peak condition, warding off any diseases or pests.
What about beekeeping where you are in New Zealand makes the job special?
There is a diverse range of climates and terrain, which makes the beekeeping a lot more interesting. We have hives by the ocean, going all the way up towards the mountains.
What’s one word you’d use to describe the feeling you experience when beekeeping?
What’s your favorite hobby?
Spending time outdoors.