This painted hive sends a colourful message

Daphne Schwarz, who lives near Berri, in the Riverland region of South Australia, credits her granddaughter, Mikaela, with providing much of the inspiration for this beautifully painted Flow Hive – and the important message it carries.

“She really spurred me on,” Daphne says. “She’d tell me how to best coordinate the colours as she’s very artistic. And we thought it was a good thing to do while we wait for our bees.”

 “If we die, you come with us.”

 

It was also Mikaela, 11, who came up with the slogan, “If we die, you come with us,” referring to the important role bees play in our food supply and the broader ecosystem, something she learned reading up on the topic in anticipation of the hive’s arrival.

 

This painted hive sends a colourful message

Also, for the tinkerers, notice the skirts on the legs of the stand on which the hive sits. Daphne’s friend, who built the stand for her, added those to keep ants out of the hive – pretty clever!

The Riverland region is considered part of Australia’s “food bowl” and demand for bees from farmers planting thousands of acres of almonds has unfortunately meant that Daphne and husband Ken have not yet been able to populate their Flow Hive.

However, the bees that do end up in this hive will be very well catered for. Daphne has a fenced, 3-hectare (almost 8-acre) nature reserve on the property where she keeps her adopted, orphaned joeys (baby kangaroos).

She’s planning on putting the hive in there, along with peacocks, guineafowl and other animals Daphne protects from Australia’s countless predators.

“I also thought it would be good to have my Flow Hive behind a fence in case someone tries to pinch it!” she laughs.

 

This painted hive sends a colourful message

In addition to a dazzling array of flora native to one of Australia’s most fertile regions, Daphne’s bees are sure to enjoy the commercial crops grown on the property.

Along with wine grapes (which don’t rely on pollinators) and citrus (which bees love!), the Schwarzes grow a range of commercial Australian native crops, including sandalwood, wattle and quandong.

The latter, also known as native peach, will make “magnificent honey”, Daphne reckons, though she worries it may be too sweet.

Once this hive is humming with bees, Daphne plans on getting some more, and opening up her apiary for tours of students from Mikaela’s class. “I’ve done that with the joeys, I really like to be able to give back,” Daphne says. 

“Having fun is a wonderful way to learn.”