Vanessa Hoo ( like WHO) AKA Mademoiselle Bee
“I save bees, what’s your super power?!”
Tell us a little about yourself like where you grew up and what influences you had and why you love European bees?
I was Born and breed in Aix en Provence, France, one the capital of Lavender production; enhance my love for lavender Honey.
I have learned to keep bees from my father who is a commercial beekeeper in South of France.
Bees, are fascinating to me. They have the ability to all work together in a mini society without judging each other. They just work in harmony.
They never cease to amaze me.
How many hives do you look after and how many sites?
I have 71 hives, they are located in multiple backyards in Adelaide suburbs, South Australia.
I also work in two bigger apiary sites, one for quarantine purposes, and the other one to start queen production with several good quality golden Italian colonies, to sell to the general public not only for my personal use!
What’s the best part about beekeeping?
Well I can’t really pin point one special ” best part ” about beekeeping…
-I love meeting beekeepers, with different level, and practices.
I let them talk to me about what they know, their bees and tricks. They all have this thing that triggers them to love bees. I love how peculiar people can be.
Everyone is different and I appreciate this.
-BUT I also love educating people, and mentoring people.
The fact I can speak about my passion, and knowledges to either new beekeepers, or an audience of gardeners, kids, teenagers, scout, girl guide, elderly people, or totally just very keen people to learn more about bees.
It makes me happy!
What’s the worst part about beekeeping?
Oh dear … worse things:
· Smelling like smoke, sweat all day long,
· Having to deal with people that don’t understands bees are important,
· Long hours during the day,
· The addiction of it, which lead me to dream about bees!
If you could go back to when you first started beekeeping what would you tell yourself?
True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing…
Beekeeping, and honey bees are changing every day!
What’s your most memorable beekeeping experience?
I have many, like teaching something new, to my dad,
Or when my youngest daughter has no fear of bees, and talk to the bees on regular basis. (Just like I do )
BUT, I think the last memorable moment was last week, when I caught a swarm.
I removed my hood, and gloves picked up the bees with my fingers, in the front of the lady… got her to do the same, talked to her about Honey bees, and she exclaimed as I left;
” Vanessa today you have taught me; that I should be respectful to honey bees and I thank you for that”
What challenges have you faced as a female beekeeper?
People always assume because I am a woman, i either can’t do the job, can’t lift heavy boxes, can’t handle defensive bees, can’t climb up a ladder, roofs tops and plenty more …
Being a woman in the industry, is very much a challenge (which I take on) I am seen as an easy target to pick on apparently.
I Don’t mind, at the end of the day I still do the job ?
What pest or disease you find the most common and how do you overcome it?
Chalkbrood, is a thing here, actually very common issue.
A good black/rotten banana inside the hive on the top of the frames help the bees. There is a compound inside the black banana that accelerate the bee’s hygiene and get them to clean faster the chalkbrood. Also Remove the chalky larvae from the bottom of the hive to help it recover. Clean up your tools in Between hives inspection.
In the year 2020 where do you see yourself and your business?
Well, keep doing what I am doing, with a limit of 150 beehives. With more regular videos making in terms of beekeeping and bees, to share with the public.
But also, and more importantly, restarting UNI to study, “molecular science”. For me to deliver better information and help to the beekeeping industry, in Australia.