Monson’s Honey and Pollination began four generations ago in the North-West of Tasmania with just a handful of hives belonging to John Monson, the one-time head of the Duck River Butter Company. John’s son, Maurice, continued this interest, but had to leave his hives behind when he moved to North-Western Victoria. However, it wasn’t long before he discovered the local River Gum and Mallee trees as a rich resource for bees. While managing a few hives and collecting bee swarms he came across while running his local pest control business Maurice gradually built up an apiary, which developed into full time beekeeping. Trevor and Lyle, his two sons also grew to love bees and joined him as beekeepers and eventually built quite a substantial commercial bee keeping operation, now Trevor and his son, Jonathan, and nephew Reece, carry on the business.
With the progress and development of the horticulture in the greater Sunraysia region and Trevor’s ever-growing interest and knowledge of all things bees Pollination become a major part of everyday bee keeping for Trevor, initially from the perspective of growth and learning but now some 50 years on Pollination is also a major part of Monson’s Honey and Pollination business operation in all facets of operation.
An interest in pollination began as a teenager in the 1960’s when Trevor found that cucumbers grown in a local glasshouse weren’t pollinating as they should, so he developed a way of keeping the bees happy to accomplish the needed results. Since then pollination has become a passion and a specialty, and Trevor has become a leading government and grower consultant in pollination around the country for most trees and plants that need bees, including almonds, apples, pears, stone fruits, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, avocados, vegetables, melons and seed crops.
Much of the year is spent with general beekeeping duties such as keeping our colonies alive and healthy while scouting and chasing various nectar and pollen sources across New South Wales and Victoria, supplying bees for various pollination jobs and constant information gathering. But by far the largest job of the year is almond pollination. Monson’s Honey and Pollination have worked hand in hand with the almond industry as it has grown in North-Western Victoria. Hive strength and hive numbers, strategic hive placement for optimal success in cross-pollination and nut production and the logistics of supply are a few of the tasks that occupy our operation each year. Each year is different to the last and involves preparation and consultation throughout the year with both growers and beekeepers. Managing over 170 beekeepers to supply over 110,000 hives a year is a mammoth undertaking and not for the faint hearted, yet is something Monson’s Honey and Pollination is very proud and grateful for the challenge.
In times to come Jonathan and Reece hope to continue in the footsteps of previous generations and continue the passion and learning of the wonderful and extremely complex world of the honeybee in particular the relationship it has with our flora and our food production.