Here at Manuka Doctor we love all types of honey. But our favourite is certainly a New Zealand Manuka.
The aroma of Manuka Honey is earthy and aromatic. Whilst the taste is sweet, with notes that can be described as slightly bitter, tangy or herbaceous. Manuka is thicker than table honey. If you turned the jar upside down, none would come out.
And nobody knows Manuka better than our team of bee-keepers.
Because Manuka Doctor is a privately owned business, we employ a team of 20 bee-keepers who work all over the country, from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island.
Because bee’s are nature’s overachievers they tend to produce far more honey than the brood needs to sustain itself. That’s why sometimes you will see beehives that look like boxes stacked on top of one another. Quite simply, as the bees make honey to fill one box, they move up to the next one!
Our team of bee-keepers tend to work in pairs. Driving around to some of the remote locations to check on all of our hives in a rotation. Some of our most remote bee hives sites are in extreme locations, such as on the top of a mountain, or in some cases – where there are no roads!
For these sites, our bee-keepers use a helicopter to “tow” a hive from one location to another. Hive location is important, because we want our bees to have an abundant source of flowering Manuka nearby to visit. So often our hives are moved to put them in the best location for a good honey harvest.
Our Beekeepers have been caring for bees in New Zealand for generations. They are responsible for the welfare of all the bees living in our 10,000 hives across the country. With up to 60,000 bees in each colony, it means the Beekeeper team looks after a staggering 600 million bees during peak Manuka season.
The beekeeping team check on each hive at least once every two weeks for signs of problems or disease. They create new homes for any colonies which have grown too large and make sure all the bees under their care have access to the best Manuka bushes.
Manuka bushes only flower for six to 12 weeks every summer but exactly when depends on a lot of variables, including the weather and where in New Zealand they are growing.
Coming into the summer flowering season, the Beekeeping team works seven days a week to make sure all equipment is in the right place at the right time, as well as checking every hive is functioning at full strength before the Manuka bushes bloom in each area.
It’s hard work but nothing beats it, as far as the Beekeeping team is concerned.
“There’s a real joy in working with the bees, creating new life and helping the environment by keeping alive colonies which pollinate the plants around them,” Doug, one of the Beekeepers says, gesturing enthusiastically at the hives. “And I’m outside in the fresh air every day. I can’t think of anything more beautiful.”
Together the Beekeeping team all have the same desire to nurture the bees. Creating new colonies, which happens when beekeepers introduce a new queen to a group of worker bees is something that some of the team are particularly keen in. “I’m most interested in growing bees - I like being able to see the life we create.”
Once the season’s Manuka is harvested, it is taken to our facility in a town called Hamilton, on the North Island of New Zealand, where it is tested for MGO strength as well as the all-important Government Standard.
Once it passes these tests, it is packed into jars, and then shipped by sea to our base in Ireland, where it is then sent to you.
So even though you may never meet them, all Manuka Doctor honey comes direct from our team of 20 bee-keepers in the wild New Zealand countryside. You can view our current special offers here.