The plight of the bumblebee

  • Customers

When the Varroa mite parasite hit Wall’s Honey, Justin and Katelyn were told they’d need to euthanise their bees.

  • 15.09.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read


The Wall family. (L-R: Lucinda, Katelyn, Lachlan and Justin)
The Wall family. (L-R: Lucinda, Katelyn, Lachlan and Justin)

Wall’s Honey started out as a hobby when Justin Wall was gifted three beehives in 2014.

On his first date with future wife Katelyn in 2015, he confessed that “he really likes bees”. Thankfully, Katelyn was undeterred and married him anyway!

“I’m now his sidekick who manages the books, liaises with wholesale clients, and handmakes our range of natural lip balms and beeswax wraps,” said Katelyn.

“Justin is the head beekeeper and is responsible for the health and happiness of our bees.”

Wall’s Honey is now a thriving family business, including two apprentice beekeepers Lucinda (4) and Lachlan (2).

“In hindsight, leaving full-time permanent employment, obtaining a business loan and enjoying a toddler and newborn baby was both exciting and exhausting,” said Katelyn, “but it certainly paid off in the end”.

Growth on growth

In January this year, the Wall family refinanced with NAB to purchase another 200 beehives, expand their shed and purchase their own honey extraction plant.

“We were set!” said Katelyn. “Completely self-sufficient and no longer relying on other members of the beekeeping community to borrow equipment.”

They now have 600 hives and an award-winning microbusiness focused on sustainability and environmental impact.

“It’s been growth on growth,” said Justin. “The investment from NAB has meant that we can scale our business quickly and efficiently.”


The Varroa mite parasite

Justin Wall showing a hive to NAB CEO Ross McEwan and business bankers Felix Sekulla and Kayla Patterson
Justin Wall showing a hive to NAB CEO Ross McEwan and business bankers Felix Sekulla and Kayla Patterson

But when the devastating Varroa mite parasite hit their region last month, Justin and Katelyn were told they’d need to euthanise their bees.

“We were enjoying dinner as a family and I checked Facebook and was distraught to see that all of our beehives were in a red zone,” said Katelyn.

“In that moment, everything that we had worked so hard for just disappeared.

“Our multi-award winning business had been ripped out from under our feet in an instant”.

Business Banker Kayla Patterson has been with the business through their latest expansion and was keen to do all that she could to help.

“Because we work so closely, I almost feel like I’m a part of the business,” said Kayla.

“I knew that my job was to reassure them that this is something we can work through.”

More than honey

L-R: Justin, Ross, Felix, Kayla and Katelyn on the Wall’s Honey property in New England

NAB CEO Ross McEwan visited Justin and Katelyn earlier this year, so was also saddened to hear the plight of Wall’s Honey.

“When I met Katelyn and Justin back in Tamworth, their passion for their business shone through and I hope we can help them get back on their feet,” said Ross.

“It’s moments like this where the support and service we provide our customers is critical.

“The work that the NAB Tamworth team are doing to support Wall’s Honey during this difficult period is what we want to be known for and I’m proud of the great work they’re doing.”

The Walls family are keeping good spirits despite the news and hope to come back bigger and better than ever.

“I am committed to our story being one of resilience and something that we will look back on in five years and think ‘that was a tough time, but we stood strong together as a family and we rebuilt our business better than ever’,” said Katelyn.

three jars of honey

Wall’s Honey may be doing it tough, but they have plenty of their small batch, raw and unfiltered honey just waiting to be spread on your morning toast!

You can support Wall’s Honey through their website and by following them on Instagram.

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