Kangaroo Island is home to the world’s only genetically-pure population of the renowned Ligurian honey bee. A pure strain of any species is rare these days, especially in the world of bees where continental population shifts resulted in the crossing of species for centuries.
Since the bees were first imported in the 1880s from the Ligurian region of Italy, Kangaroo Island’s isolation and strict biosecurity protocols has ensured its status as a ‘bee sanctuary’.
So what is all the buzz about Kangaroo Island’s Ligurian honey bee?
Ligurian bees are renowned for being a hardworking, productive bee of docile nature. Their honey has powerful natural health benefits with high anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and a spoonful a day is considered a delicious, natural remedy to the common cold.
The honey’s flavour varies by the season and the native flowers that the bees are pollinating at the time. Coastal Flora, Stringy Bark and Cup Gum are some of the favourites from Island Beehive where Kangaroo Island’s most famous apiarist – and long-term friend of Southern Ocean Lodge – Peter Davis tends to his bees.
Kangaroo Island’s Ligurian bee sanctuary is also considered an important genetic resource for queen breeders and apicultural research world-wide. The minimal use of pesticides and fertilisers on the island ensures the bees are not exposed to various bacteria and diseases that commonly attack hives. A breeding queen can fetch more than $1000 on the international market.
At Southern Ocean Lodge, guests are invited to taste the Island’s honey on toast or buttermilk pancakes in the morning and in desserts such as panna cotta by night. For a Kangaroo Island night cap, guests can try the local honey liqueur ‘Island Sting’ at the bar.
The honey also acts as a natural moisturiser in the Southern Spa. The Ligurian Honey and Almond Wrap deeply cleanses, exfoliates and nourishes the body, bestowing glowing, soft skin for guests.