Sisters’ record sting

BEEKEEPING women from across Tasmania and the globe have joined forces to achieve two world records. The world records saw women unite to share their enthusiasm for beekeeping both in the digital world and also on a farm at Richmond.

Co-founder of Sister Hives Australia, Jenni McLeod organised the event with longtime friend and fellow beekeeper Anita Long.

The world record efforts were overseen by local Tasmanian company Extreme Excellence World Records, which will now ensure every participant receives a certificate officially acknowledging the records.

The first record involved women from across the globe uploading photos of themselves beekeeping to social media to #beekeepingworldrecord. More than 1300 women from 25 different countries uploaded pictures, which resulted in an initial reach of 2.8 million people over 24 hours. “From a social media perspective, we basically broke the internet,” Ms McLeod said.

“Facebook locked us out twice and Instagram locked us out, because everyone was sharing and it was going crazy. It was pretty interesting to have a trending hash tag on those platforms, I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Ms McLeod said that impact has since continued to grow to more than four million. The group also achieved a successful in-person world record at Ripple Farm Landscape Healing Hub at Richmond. On the day, 71 women from across Tasmania and other states including South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria gathered to practice some beekeeping together to creating a new world record for the most women beekeepers in the one place.

Ms McLeod said beekeeping is gaining popularity among women, challenging the usual stereotype. “We have a lot of very prominent male beekeepers and the statistics tell us that the average bee keeper is a 69-year-old white male, so the stereotype of what a bee keeper looks like is out there,” she said.

“There are a lot of women out there that have one hive or two hives and they downplay the fact they’re a bee keeper, because they’re not commercial bee keepers … what we’re saying is the experience of being a bee keeper looks very different for everyone, so if you have one hive or 10 you’re a bee keeper.”

The Sister Hives organisation was formed when Ms Long and Ms McLeod decided to establish a group for fellow women beekeepers. Despite having no funding, the pair came up with a program and it was sold out within 24 hours. They then applied for a Government grant and were successful, which has helped them develop a 12 month program.

The program now covers all aspects of beekeeping. Ms McLeod said they are now taking applications for the next program which begins on February 18.