From discovering a colony of bees in the wall of their shed on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in 2011 and coaxing them into a box, Ann Ross and her husband Jeff are now proud apiarists with a passion for bees and smart farming technology.
Ann and Jeff’s business Hive Haven specialises in both Australian native stingless bees and European honey bees and has pioneered a unique, award winning, hexagonal hive assembly that can produce a range of native bee products, native bee honey and facilitate pollination.
Earlier this year Hive Haven was sponsored by AgriFutures Australia to take part in the Farmer2Founders Ideas program which helped them understand the commercial viability of new products and the opportunity that existed to grow the business through their innovative bee boxes.
Beekeeping might not immediately come to mind when people think about agriculture, but in Australia and across the globe, our bees and their pollination services underpin many of our horticultural crops and food security. It’s this outsized impact that is one of the things Ann loves about working in the Australian bee industry.
“What I enjoy most of all is getting out in the paddock with the bees because they remind me why I do what I do. Every day is different working in agriculture as I do, plus I get to create my own destiny and do some good along the way,” said Ann.
Speaking about her time in the industry, Ann has been pleased to see more and more women getting involved in beekeeping – as both a hobby or a business.
“I want people to know there’s lots of opportunities in our industry, especially if you’re prepared to learn a lot. Education is the key to success. I’d recommend finding a mentor who understands bees and definitely attending meetings at your local bee club so you’ve got a place to ask questions and hear all the different answers and approaches.”
When reflecting on her achievements as a woman in agriculture, Ann is most proud of the V9 Native Bee Box, which has been a groundbreaking contribution to Australian beekeeping.
“As the first native bee box to include a 70mm hollow insulation cavity that can be filled with either a liquid or a soft solid insulator, it’s a huge step forward for the industry in regards to insulation.
“The smart technology we incorporated into the design means hive temperatures can be recorded and we’re getting better all the time at protecting our bees, which is especially important for the native bee which are susceptible to heat stress.”
“It’s wonderful to think there’s one of our native hives at Parliament House in Canberra. We’re looking to build a commercial future for the Australian stingless native bee as a way to preserve this vital, local pollinator.
“We’re committed to improving the wellbeing of our community and our environment and are proud to supply native bee hives to schools, retirement villages and public spaces and for pollination services within the horticultural sector.”
International Day of Rural Women
We have launched a hashtag #hatsofftoruralwomen across our social media channels and encourage you to use this hashtag and share the stories of the rural, regional and remote women you work with and the reasons why they inspire you.
For more information about the United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women, please visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/rural-women-day