Beekeeper Spotlight: Alazae Davis Peters
Humans have been beekeeping for nearly 10,000 years, cultivating safe and healthy places for bees to form thriving colonies. Some of the oldest parts of that tradition are alive and well at Comvita, where we’ve been beekeeping since 1974 (and for one of our founders, since the 1920s!). It’s important that we pass down the craft of beekeeping to new generations, and blend the old ways with the new to create the world’s #1 UMF™ Manuka Honey. So we’d like to introduce you to the beekeepers blending modern science and heritage tradition, passionately stewarding the bees and the ecosystem to create healthy, sustainable honey.
This is a conversation we had with Alazae Davis Peters, a hobby beekeeper and team member at the Comvita shop in our New Zealand Headquarters:
Hometown: Paengaroa, New Zealand
How did you get involved in beekeeping?
I started working at Comvita late 2018 as an ambassador and barista in the company cafe (where I still work today). As employees came in for coffee and snacks, I'd start asking questions about their jobs. I was really inspired by the things one of our beekeepers who manages the onsite hives would tell me. In our Experience Centre we actually have a live 'display' hive, so I also got to see first-hand live bees in a beehive frame. My interest and involvement expanded from there to help with hives in our community garden. Now I am excited to have two of my own.
What do you love about it?
I love the thrill of seeing what happens in a hive and seeing it build and grow. Also, the knowledge that I’m helping to boost the population of honey bees, who pollinate and help grow fruit and vegetables.
What have you learned from bees that can apply to other areas of life?
It’s like a community and I can relate that to our company. The hive has their Queen Bee, as we have our CEO. In both communities there are workers that help share the workload to get the job done.
What tools have helped you in your pursuit of beekeeping?
I use a traditional bee smoker, which helps to soothe the bees when I want to open the hive to inspect the honey frames.
Bees are critical to the environment. What are you doing in the field that supports the long-term health of the hive?
I aim to create a natural environment for the bees, that is sustainable. I leave honey in the frames, so the bees have enough to feed on through Winter. And I choose sites that have a diverse range of flowers, that flower at different times of the year.
Please note: Beekeeping for Manuka, a monofloral crop is done in the 2-6 weeks when the Manuka Flower is in bloom, the rest of the year our we place our hives in areas that have an abundance of other types of flowers.
What about beekeeping in New Zealand feels special?
Paengaroa is my hometown and is close to my heart. I like to see the plants and trees flourish in the area and help the community garden.
What’s one word you’d use to describe the feeling you experience when beekeeping?
Exhilarating! Because each time you go into a hive it is a thrill to see the hives grow and develop.
How do you incorporate Manuka into your daily routine?
I take Manuka daily. Sometimes I eat a teaspoonful in the morning, have it on my toast, or I substitute sugar for honey in my drinks and baking.
What’s your favorite hobby?
What would you tell other curious people who are interested in getting into beekeeping?
Give it a go, and you may just become a passionate beekeeper like me.
Interested in learning more? Read Comvita’s Origin Story and see how this intergenerational company formed in unlikely circumstances nearly 50 years ago.