Duncan Storrier is a director at Midlands Holdings. Midlands Apiaries provide between 3,000 and 3,500 beehives for natural and efficient pollination of specialty seed and fruit crops throughout Canterbury.
How long have you been keeping bees for?
Midlands has been keeping bees for 12 years.
Can you tell me a little background about yourself, your enterprise and how you started specialising in pollination?
Midlands have needed large numbers of bees for pollination of seed crops, mainly carrots for about 27 years. In 2005 when varroa was threatening to arrive in Canterbury and one of our leading pollinators wanted to retire, Midlands decided to purchase our own hive. We’ve increased our hive numbers over the years but still also rely on a number of beekeepers in Canterbury and Central Otago to pollinate for us.
What crops do you specialise in?
Mainly vegetable seed crop, with carrots being the largest, plus clover seed crops.
How do you think members of the public can help or support bees?
In Canterbury we have seen a lot of trees cut down for irrigation development and now need many planted back to improve feed sources for bees.
What’s your best beekeeping memory?
The rewarding feeling of a good season for everyone that has worked so hard.
What’s your favourite bee fact or bee trait?
Back in 2005 when an insurance guy asked me about livestock insurance and how many bees we had, I worked out that in the peak summer when they were all home at night, we probably had 500 million workers helping us in the fields!
If you weren’t a beekeeper, what would you be doing?
Probably not growing as many seed crops in Canterbury.