Presidential gardens' bees may give forth bumper honey yield this year

Bucking the trend for a downturn in agriculture, a better than average honey harvest can be expected this year, at least in Kadriorg, according to the presidential bee-keeper.

Beekeeper Hannes Praks said: "I once happened to read an article in Time magazine, when Barack Obama was still in the White House, and I read that he had brought beehives to the White House garden."

"That seemed like a great idea, so immediately after reading that article I wrote to the Estonian] president's office asking how come, given that we are a country so close to nature, we don't have any beehives in the presidential gardens here. The topic went through the processing and an answer followed in the mail: 'Okay, come and let's do it'," Praks, who is also an interior designer, went on.

The Kadriorg Rose Garden is most well-known as the venue for the annual Restoration of Independence Day reception, but it is also home to several beehives, year-round. Source: Kairit Leibold / ERR

This year's take will be better than average , he added. "Based on my own little experience, a couple of decades of experience, you could say it will be average or above average," Praks said, noting that working with bees results in the occasional, inevitable sting – he does not wear protective clothing when attending to the hives, adding that this hampers interaction in some ways.

Hannes Praks. Source: ERR

Praks has been a beekeeper for around 20 years, and has been presidential beekeeper for the last seven of these.

A good apiculturist visits his hives every nine days, he told AK.

The presidential beehives total six, three in front of the palace, and three to the rear, in the Rose Garden (Roosiaed).

Praks said that, as with all honey and the bees that make it, Kadriorg honey had a specific aroma and taste, different from produce made elsewhere.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Ave Häkli.

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