He was the first of the trio to get into it when a group of graduates from the firm’s Melbourne office decided to try it together 10 years ago. They already had vegetable gardens and brewed and baked their own bread.
“It turned out that it was actually a relatively easy thing to do, but not necessarily an easy thing to do,” he says.
“We got bitten a lot. There were days when we worked from home because our face was quite swollen. We probably weren’t as gentle as we learned to be.
There have been positives for his work, he says. “There’s a little something zen about beekeeping that’s not entirely unnecessary.
“Part of what you’re trying to do is figure out what’s going on with them; if they are stressed, if they have a queen. The only way to do that is to sit and listen to them, observe them and see the signs that they are giving up.
“It’s a pretty relaxing thing to do.”
Colleagues didn’t hang on to it, but Mr Smith found new enthusiasm when Mr Ponari joined Lander & Rogers five years ago. His family had kept bees in Albania for several generations and his father wanted to continue the tradition in Melbourne.
“He passed on some of that knowledge to me and my siblings. So we do it kind of like a family affair,” says Ponari.
He also finds a hive full of bees to be quite relaxing, “especially when I’m sitting there and watching them come in and out of the hive.”
“If there’s a lot of traffic, it’s because the weekend was good. they have been very active. It’s also very, very weather dependent.
Ms Chapman is a relatively newcomer, having bought a semi-rural property on the outskirts of Brisbane in 2018.
“We started with ducks, chickens and geese, then we got our hive about two years ago. First we have bees, then we also have native hives.
She says they are “very interesting to watch”.
“It’s really about creating a good life for the overall benefit of the hive. They have their job, and they know what their job is, and they do their job.
“The other amazing thing about it is to see the difference in productivity of our fruit and vegetable garden since we’ve had them. It’s kind of mind-boggling.
“Even our neighbors have commented that the level of pollination of their fruit trees is amazing.”
The trio have been sharing their products at the company for some time – Mr Smith swapping his honey for a colleague’s homemade passata – and are hoping for more recruits after the company’s environment committee invited them to mark World Bee Day on May 20.
“It was the first time we did something more formal; we pitched to the company and sent photos,” says Smith.
“Edison discussed his bees and we brought in honey from different parts of Victoria to show people the different flavors you can get from the vegetation.
“So that was good. There was a real buzz.”
There will be more bee chatter in the office than usual in the coming weeks, the topic being nectar flow.
“Towards the end of winter – when the vegetation starts to produce nectar and pollen again – you get this rush and the bees go from being dormant during the winter to very active activity in the spring.
“There’s a bit of discussion between us to figure out exactly what happens each year.”