WesTrac strikes yellow gold with bee hives (2020)

Six months after being installed, the WesTrac beehives at Tomago have started to produce honey and are going strong. It's an example of what can be accomplished with effort and teamwork.

Back in August 2019, we announced plans to build an apiary with 10 bee hives on the open land to the south of WesTrac Tomago. The goal of this project is to assist with environmental regeneration of the land surrounding our NSW head office. Since then we installed the apiary and the bees have been hard at work pollinating nearby flora and producing honey, aka 'yellow gold'.

WesTrac Beehives at Tomago

We partnered with Kelly and Anna from Urban Hum on this project. They act as our beekeepers and are responsible for checking in on the little workers. Here's an update from Kelly:

It's coming into Autumn now, a time of year when beekeepers start preparing their hives to slow down a little. Although in Australia we are very lucky with the mild weather, especially here in the Hunter where our bees will continue to work and gather nectar. The WesTrac bees were last checked a few weeks ago and all were found to be doing well. They started off with just a single box (the brood box) where the queen lays all her eggs. Now, 6 months on, most hives have a second storey added and this is where the bees will start laying down honey.

Around the Tomago area, the Broad-Leaved Tea Tree has been out in flower and it produces an abundance of nectar that the bees turn into a tangy light coloured honey. This tree is sometimes known as the “rain tree” as rather than having a distinct flowering time during the year it produces a flush of flowers after good rainfall.

So far we have harvested just a few frames of honey from one hive. We will wait until there are a few more before we extract it. We are looking forward to providing WesTrac with their first batch of homegrown honey very soon.

Team Engagement

To keep our team engaged with this project and to educate them on the important role bees play in sustainability we recently had Anna come in and do talks at WesTrac Tomago (before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place). This included a tasting of honeycomb that was harvested from the WesTrac hives.

"Bees work together towards a common goal to produce something amazing. It's no different to what we do here at WesTrac for our customers, except what they make tastes great" says Gareth Hughes, WesTrac General Manager for Safety, Security and Risk. "The beehive project is great for the environment but it's also a good example of what can be accomplished with effort and teamwork. This is why it was important for us to incorporate this into our ongoing team engagement program."

WesTrac Beehives at Tomago

Due to the current restrictions, we haven't been able to take team members down to the hives on educational tours to meet the bees. However, we are currently working on starting these later in the year when social distancing restrictions have been lifted. 

Thrive like bees

Right now the world is going through a very difficult time with an unprecedented global pandemic. The beehives might not be the most important topic to discuss but they do represent a source of inspiration and hope. The bees are part of nature and so are we! Nature is strong, resilient and always bounces back. Bees are a 'superorganism'. They work together to problem-solve, fight hardship, overcome disease and care for their colony as a whole. We can take a page from their book by doing the right thing, being there for our family and working together so humanity can become stronger and get past this. 

We're encouraging our team members, and all of you, to check-in with family, friends and colleagues on a regular basis. Together, as a colony, we can thrive... just like the bees.

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