The Bee Dilemma



Bee-friendly plants

By Penny Kerr-Hislop

Honey bees can no longer survive on their own either in the wild or in hive colonies. They must be managed and helped to combat the diseases that we now have in New Zealand, mainly Varroa mite and American Foulbrood.

This month is Bee Aware month, instigated by the National Bee Association of New Zealand to not only remind us of the importance of bees to our agriculture and our very survival, but also to facilitate better practices that will support the bees in their struggle to survive.

Rusty Barrett, Chair of the Otaki Buzz Club, believes that the main thing we as individuals can do to lessen the stress on our honey bees is to be very aware of what we spray on our gardens and when. Many people are concerned about the health of our bees.When the offer of beekeeping classes 18 months ago resulted in a turnout of over 100 people, Rusty realised that the area needed a bee club. Today there are 64 paid-up members of the Buzz Club and they meet at 7pm on the third Wednesday of the month at Waitouhu school. Each meeting hosts a guest speaker with hands on practical advice on such things as setting up your own beehive, disease management, beekeeping equipment. Everyone is welcome to come along. The Buzz Club also offers a food handling qualification as this is an important part of the honey extraction process.

If you are interested in beekeeping and would like to know more, please call Rusty on 362 6950