For George, the best thing about being a beekeeper is the potential to work outdoors in some of New Zealand's most beautiful places. And seeing the beehives progression throughout the year as the work is put in.

George is the second Swarming Son and lives with his wife Claire in Te Anau.

Together they have bought Southern Lakes Honey. Their beehives range from the shores of Lake Te Anau, as far afield as Glenorchy, and they produce Fiordland Clover, Fiordland Manuka, and Glenorchy Manuka.

George says he wanted to become a beekeeper because he really enjoyed farming and working in the outdoors.

From an early age he helped his parents, Ali and Peter Bell, with the bees during his school holidays.

“We were too short to look into the hives so we stood on the one next to it,” he says.

When a business in Te Anau came up for sale it meant Claire and he could work for themselves.

George and Claire
George and Claire check hives with the Takitimu mountains as a backdrop.

“It was a good opportunity for us to work together,” he says.  Claire was quick to learn and is especially good at raising queens.

For George, the best thing about being a beekeeper is the potential to work outdoors in some of New Zealand's most beautiful places. And seeing the beehives progression throughout the year as the work is put in.

He says their honey is different from that of the other Swarming Sons because it is sourced from a unique location.

“Our clover honey is produced from farm pasture and is consistently the same every year. Very light, sweet and smooth.

“Our Manuka honey is sourced from Fiordland and Glenorchy and has a bold taste with not quite the same bite as Twizel or Hanmer Springs manuka.”

George is the livewire amongst the Swarming Sons. His mother says he is sporty and energetic, always on the go. He likes to make things – he is an inventor- and spent a lot of time in the workshop while growing up.  He gained some great skills and if something is broken George likes to fix it.

These days he loves to hunt and spends many days in the backcountry. Claire is a talented multi-sport athlete and spends her spare time training on a bike or in a kayak, or running the Fiordland hillsides.

George says despite being young and just starting, The Swarming Sons are hardworking, outdoorsy and expert honey makers who want to supply the public with high-quality honey.

“We are producing a product we are proud of,” he says.

And in five years? He hopes The Swarming Sons will be a New Zealand-wide brand.