News | 31 August 2022

Let’s get ready to bumble this Bee Aware Month

Every September, Wellington City Council partners with Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) for Bee Aware Month to create a buzz and wax lyrical about the importance of bees.

Image of a bee eating nectar from a flower
Image credit: Nick Thorp

This year’s theme is ‘Bee Curious’, so we’re encouraging everyone to share knowledge, connect and learn, get involved and help raise awareness about the importance of bees for our economy, environment, and food production systems – and how to protect them.

In New Zealand there are 28 species of native bees and 13 species of introduced bees, together they contribute about $5 billion to our economy annually and support about one third of everything we eat.

Events include everything from a Q&A with a beekeeper, honey workshops, and a sunflower planting day – in fact there’s something on this month to give everyone a buzz.

Events:

  • Saturday 3 September: Sunflowers for City Housing honeybees – seed germination workshop
  • Monday 5 September: Busy Bee Preschool Storytime (Kilbirnie)
  • Wednesday 7 September: Let’s go Lego – save the bees!
  • Monday 12 September: Busy Bee Preschool Storytime (Tawa)
  • Tuesday 13 September: Busy Bee Preschool Storytime (Johnsonville)
  • Friday 16 September: Let’s go Lego – save the bees!
  • Tuesday 20 September: Busy Bee Preschool Storytime (Karori)
  • Saturday 24 September: Propagation 101: Growing healthy seedlings from seed for people and pollinators
  • Saturday 24 September: Come and see the bees and learn about their lives
  • Saturday 24 September: Let’s go Lego – save the bees!
  • Wednesday 28 September: Bee Aware Seed and Seedling Swap
  • Wednesday 28 September: Busy Bee Preschool Storytime (Wellington City)
  • Friday 30 September: Bee Aware Month Community Dinner
  • Saturday 1 October: Sunflowers for City Housing honeybees – planting day.

Facts and figures:

  • Honeybees communicate by ‘dancing’. They do a waggle dance which tells other bees the distance and direction of food.
  • The honeybee is the only insect which produces food eaten by humans.
  • A honeybee can fly at approximately 24 kph.
  • The honeybee beats its wings 11,400 times per minute, which produces its distinctive buzzing sound.
  • In New Zealand, we have approximately 880,000 beehives (at March 2021).
  • Worker bees produce about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime.
  • Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years.
  • On one flight from the hive to collect honey, a honeybee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers.
  • Bees must visit about 4 million flowers to produce 1kg of honey.
  • Bees use their antennae to smell. They can detect nectar 2 kms away.
  • New Zealand produced approximately 27,000 tonnes of honey in 2020.
  • In the year to March 2021, honey exports were valued at around $500 million.
  • New Zealand’s apiculture industry plays a key role in pollinating agricultural and horticultural crops including pastoral clover for nitrogen regeneration, specialised small seed crops, stone fruit and pip fruit orchards.
  • New Zealand has unique honeys found nowhere else in the world – made from our native plants. Rātā, kāmahi, tāwari, rewarewa, mānuka and kānuka are some of our special honeys.

For more information about bees and events please visit wellington.govt.nz/beeawaremonth.