Adelaide Hills-based beekeeper Jake Leske has won the inaugural Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) Australian Beekeeper Award.
Competing for the title in Sydney on 10 June against four high-performing beekeeper finalists from across Australia, the 30-year-old said it was an honour to win the accolade that recognises emerging leaders in the nation’s vital beekeeping industry.
“I was privileged to meet the other state finalists last month and know first-hand the competition was of a very high standard, so am very humbled to win,” Jake Leske said.
The Echunga-based keeper's journey in the industry started after high school, when he worked for a commercial beekeeper for 18 months in the State’s southeast and set out to learn as much as he could about beekeeping. He then chose to take a hiatus and hung up his beekeeping suit to join the Royal Australian Navy as an aircraft technician for six years, before his love of bees drew him back to the Adelaide Hills.
For the past three years, he has focused on building his successful beekeeping business. An outdoor enthusiast, he spends his days out in the bush with his bees, pulling honeycomb from his 100 hives scattered around the countryside, making deliveries to customers, and cultivating relationships with local wineries, chefs and farmers.
“I spend a lot of time planting native trees and shrubs as windbreaks for livestock or on unusable parts of farmers’ land such as swampy areas or sloping hills that aren’t suitable for cropping,” Leske said.
“It’s a win-win for everyone. It provides protection for the farmers’ livestock and ensures access to bee sites for years to come.”
Hear Jake Leske talk to Jennie Lenman about his win via the play window below:
Photo at top of Australian Beekeeper Award recipient, Jake Leske, supplied