Hive Haven is a Sunshine Coast startup on a mission to build a commercial future for Australian Stingless Native Bees. Founders Ann and Jeff Ross have designed an industry-specific Australian Stingless Native Bee hive assembly which is capable of producing a range of native bee products (pollination, honey and cerumen).
Native bees are critical to the future of food production in Australia. Scientists have just discovered what Aboriginals have known for thousands of years about the healing qualities of native honey and propolis. The European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) is also in crisis and decline. Ann and Jeff farm both European honey bees and Australian stingless native bees.
While Hive Haven was officially founded in 2014, Ann and Jeff’s journey into entrepreneurship and beekeeping began in 2011 when they discovered a colony of bees had made a home in the wall of their mechanical workshop in Beerburrum. While they were advised to poison the bees, they instead coaxed them into a box and soon discovered a new passion for bees.
In 2012, they identified a market for Australian stingless native honey and invested in several colonies. After losing their native bees during heat waves in 2013, they began to experiment with different hive building materials and overcame various setbacks. By December 2017, they’d successfully manufactured their first batch of innovative native bee hives, specifically designed to maintain a stable temperature. More research is needed, but their breakthroughs to date are significant.
Hive Haven received an Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Grant in 2017, which partly funded the development of their initial product. Hive Haven has also received funding to compile a snapshot of the future potential of the native bee industry here in Queensland as a sustainable export market. They’ve also received a wealth of commercialisation support and mentoring from the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast along their journey.
Going forward, Hive Haven is working to adopt SMART farming practises that will improve efficiency and scale the business whilst remaining respectful of these amazing little creatures.