Kyriakos Malathounis has been working with bees since he was five-years-old.
Eighty-two years later, at the age of 87, he still works closely with them, maintaining hives in his backyard in Windsor, Melbourne, Australia.
His family think the bee stings and honey are the reason he doesn’t suffer from arthritis and enjoys such good health.
Malathounis, who sells his honey under the name Mr Mala, grew up on the island of Imbros.
After his father passed away at a young age, him and his six siblings helped their mother on the farm.
When Malathounis started helping his mother with the bees, she had hives hanging from trees around their property. By the age of 12, he thought there was a better way of housing the bees, and so he constructed pine boxes that sat on the ground, had a lid and a series of frames that were strung with wire and wax. He did this so the bees could build their own honeycomb.
At his most prolific, he was working with 350 hives, producing 15 tonnes of honey a year and trading his product across Europe.
“I’m like a doctor who keeps notes on his patients and who knows all about them,” he told Broadsheet.
Over the course of 82 years working with bees, Malathounis has gathered enough knowledge to fill several books.
‘I watch my bees and know what they need and when it’s time to build a new hive. Every hive has its own personality.”
Mr Mala‘s honey is cold-pressed, which has a taste and texture that is second to none.
The beekeeper is also heartily in favour of biodiversity. His bees visit different flowers every day and at different times of the season. Although he’s not sure how far his bees fly in Melbourne, on Imbros he knew they went as far as 30 kilometres away, because sometimes the honey had the scent of a flower that only grew on a certain part of the island.