Meet A Comvita Beekeeper Behind Nature’s Most Powerful Honey: Jess Bligh
Jess Bligh joined the Comvita team in December of 2020 with little to no experience as a beekeeper, but with a heart for nature and all of nature’s creatures. She is now at the specialist Queen Breeding unit in Whanganui perfecting the craft and caring for the bees behind our certified UMF™ Manuka Honey. How did she get into beekeeping and what has the past few months at Comvita been like for her? Continuing reading to learn more about our talented beekeeper!
How did you get involved in beekeeping?
A mixture of intrigue in beekeeping, my belief in the healing powers that can come from nature, perfect timing and a career change.
What do you love about it?
I love that every day can be completely different from the last, being out in nature and working in some beautiful areas. Mother Nature influences everything that we do and if we try to go against her it's more work, whereas if we work in unison with papatuanuku [Maori word for the land] we end up in a balance of harmony. I love being a part of an industry that is helping our ecosystem.
Tell us about your upbringing - where and how did you grow up?
I grew up on a farm just out of a small town called Bulls. Growing up included hand raising mis-mothered lambs, climbing trees and making home videos with my siblings and cousins.
How did you come to join Comvita?
I moved back to NZ to be closer to family and I was at a stage in my life where I was ready for a career change. Beekeeping was on my list of options but I was finding it a little difficult to get into the industry with no experience. It was perfect timing when Comvita put a job listing up looking for apprentice beekeepers with no experience required.
Marking a Queen Bee
What do you enjoy about working here?
I get to work with some incredibly knowledgeable people that I learn from everyday.
Sustainable beekeeping is important to Comvita customers. What practices do we employ that keep the long-term health of the hive in mind??
I’m relatively new to this game but something I've noticed right away is when working with a hive the bees can feel what you feel. Every time I open a hive I try to be calm, gentle and patient.
What lessons have you learned from bees that are helpful in other areas of your life?
Selflessness. When a bee collects nectar, she doesn’t do it for herself . She does it for the survival of the hive - for all of her sisters.
How do you use Comvita products in your daily routine?
A glass of warm water with a few drops of Propolis tincture followed by a spoonful of Manuka honey every morning.
What do you like to do when you’re off the clock?
Pottery, swim, read, go for nature walks, grow fruit and veggies, bake sourdough bread.
Do you have any advice for beekeeping beginners?
I feel like I’m technically still a beginner (haha) but number one thing would be find a great teacher and ask questions, and once you’ve done that ask some more.
Interested in learning more? Read Comvita’s Origin Story and see how this intergenerational company formed in unlikely circumstances nearly 50 years ago.