PODCAST EPISODE 52: Robert Owen, author, beekeeper, and former owner of Bob’s Beekeeping Supplies in Eltham, now living in Thailand
I feel like most people with hands-on jobs or hobbies have one of those stores where they LOVE to go, where every new tool and material fills them with joy and a sense of possibility. And perhaps, if you are lucky, the person behind the counter is a wealth of knowledge and is willing to offer some real pearlers of advice. For me, this was Bob’s Beekeeping Supplies on the gloriously named Zig Zag Road in Eltham, Victoria. For over 14 years, Robert Owen owned and ran this glorious store, and, after arriving back from my stint in Queensland, Bob’s became my absolute go-to for all the beekeeping bits and pieces my heart desired. Funnily, Bob’s Beekeeping Supplies was run out of Robert’s garage, but was so very popular that there would be regular traffic jams in his driveway! It is therefore a pleasure to welcome Robert (Bob) Owen to the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast for episode 52.
But Bob has done even more than run my favourite store. Six years ago, he wrote a book – The Australian Beekeeping Manual – and last year the second edition was launched with only a few adjustments and a FULL CHAPTER on the flow hive! Now that’s my kind of read! Believe me, you need this book if you are a professional beekeeper or just starting out; whether you have one hive or over 1000, it’s a must have. An interesting fact is that when Bob first wrote this wonderful tome of knowledge, he had great difficulty getting photos of bee-related diseases from the Australian government. Instead, he sought the assistance of the Canadian government, and with the images he sourced, the book was ready for publication.
Adding to Bob’s fascinating life story, he has been living in Thailand for the past few years; before COVID hit, he was travelling the world, helping developing countries learn about and keep bees. Such a great human! Bob might be 72, but you’d never know it, and there is no chance that this avid and passionate beekeeper is slowly down – in fact, he has another book on the way!
Tune in to hear Bob and I chat about bee types in Thailand, great uses for cow poo, African killer bees, and what it was like to own and run a beekeeping institution out of his garage.