Meet Australia’s top bee-grade student — a high-school apiarist leading the charge to save the bees

Posted December 08, 2018 09:42:02

Photo: Beekeeper Luke de Laeter, 16, checks his backyard hives daily. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)

“Hi I’m Luke. I’m a 16-year-old beekeeper and I’m in Year 10. I love bees.”

Right from the outset, teenage beekeeper Luke de Laeter has his primary school audience captivated.

As he carefully explains how bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers, how they feed the pollen to baby bees, and how worker bees’ wings beat an eye-watering 160 times a second in order to turn nectar into honey, the students at Hilton Primary School, in Perth’s south, give him their full attention.

“The queen bee lays 2,000 eggs a day — that’s one every 46 seconds,” he tells them.

Later, he organises a series of activities for the children, from tasting the honey he collects from his backyard hives, to learning about the role of bees in sustainability and the harmful effect of pesticides on bee populations.