Honey harvesting at Yarno with Rooftop Bees

Ellie Doyle, 4 min read
Custom illustration of the queen bee of the Yarno hive (Bee-yarn-ce)

We’ve shared our partnership with Rooftop Bees before, and here’s the latest update! If your client is looking for a way to meet their sustainability goals, potentially as part of their ESG targets, we highly recommend getting in touch with John at Rooftop Bees. They’ll soon be able to use Yarno to reinforce the knowledge learnt! 

As part of our recent ‘Yarnoversary’ offsite, where we celebrated 6 years of Yarno(!), we had an opportunity to get up close and personal with our apian colleagues. We’ve had some really memorable sessions with Rooftop Bees so far (see here, and here), but I think I speak for everyone when I say this was our favourite!

As part of our partnership with Rooftop Bees, Yarno sponsors a beehive in Sydney, and finally, after a season of hard work by the bees (the constant rain was not helpful), the hive’s honey was ready to harvest. I’ve never harvested honey before, and I don’t think I was alone! But it didn’t matter - John, founder of Rooftop Bees had everything set up and ready for a team of Yarnoers who had never even been near a beehive.

The session kicked off with a brilliant problem-solving activity. We were invited to self sort into 3 teams (apparently that’s how bees do it), given a bunch of equipment and then the question was posed: 

How do you harvest honey using the utensils in front of you?

Needless to say, there were some real experimental attempts before we all figured out our extraction methods!

Not to be biased, but the team I was in had the best method - slicing off wax caps with a giant serrated knife then, spinning it really fast in a spinning-around honey thing. (Upon some research, the spinning-around honey thing is actually called a Honey Extractor, which makes a lot of sense.)

It was an amazing insight into the hard work the inhabitants of our Yarno beehive put in. Did you know that each teaspoon of honey is the life’s work of 12 bees?! I guess many hands do make a jar of honey. 

We all got to take home a jar of our Yarno-harvested honey, complete with honey drizzler, where it has been the perfect addition to my daily overnight oats (I’m very careful not to waste any now!). We also got to take home some beeswax lip balm, which is doing wonders in the subzero temperatures we have been experiencing (thanks, June!).

Supporting a beehive and raising awareness among workforces goes a long way in educating wider groups of people on the importance of bees and sustainability more broadly.

By installing beehives onto corporate building rooftops, Rooftop Bees helps organisations pledge their commitment to sustainability and the environment. For a lot of these organisations, their physical workplaces have impacted the surrounding environment through urbanisation and habitat loss, so introducing and supporting bees in the area helps to maintain ecosystems inside cities. 

Bees are indispensable for agriculture and vital to our food security. Through pollination, they preserve ecological balance and biodiversity, and act as indicators for the state of the environment. In addition to installing the beehive, Rooftop Bees also offers unique workshops and experiences designed to educate teams and facilitate team building - and trust me, they’re fun!

At Yarno, we’ve learnt a lot about the broader ecosystem by learning more about bees. I, for one, had no idea that beehives can pollinate a radius of 5km around the hive - meaning one hive can pollinate a total area of 78.5km2. 

If you’re curious about what a honey-harvesting session looks like, check out the video montage below!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Rooftop Bees, check out the website.

Ellie Doyle

Ellie Doyle

Ellie is the resident Yarno wordsmith. If she's not writing a million words a minute, you'll probably find her trying to smash her New York Times daily crossword time while listening to 3 podcasts at once.

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