Capital all abuzz for Bee Aware Month

24 August 2018

September is Bee Aware Month and there’s a hive of activity around the capital as we help raise awareness of the crucial role bees play in all of our lives.

Zoo beehive content

The focus of this year’s Bee Aware Month is bee health, and what communities can do to help keep our bees healthy so they’ll be better able to fight disease and thrive.

This is important as the bee population in New Zealand contributes about $5 billion to our economy annually and supports about one third of everything we eat says Mayor Justin Lester.

“We are focused on being a resilient and sustainable city, and bees are a critical component of that vision and the future of our urban ecology,” says Mayor Lester.

“Being a bee-friendly capital is something we can all contribute to – and will all benefit from,” adds the Mayor.

Wellington City Council and Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) are partnering up and inviting the whole community to events and activities around the city, designed to raise awareness and provide tips about how to be bee-friendly.

Take the opportunity to ask a beekeeper a question, learn how to make beeswax wraps, hear about Bee mythology, or do a honey tasting.

The start of Spring also means some honey bees are on the move, and a swarm of bees could be unexpected visitors in your back yard.

Bees can swarm in response to overcrowding in hives when the queen lays more eggs in response to a greater abundance of food - flowers and pollen - in the warmer weather. When bees swarm, a queen and up to 20,000 worker bees leave the hive and land in gardens or structures. Bees gather in a dark mass around the queen to keep her warm and safe.

Beekeeper John Burnet, member of Wellington Beekeepers Association who also manages hives at the Wellington Botanic Garden, reassures the public to not be afraid of swarms, but to take the following steps.

“If you find a swarm, your best approach is to not disturb the bees, and contact a beekeeper to safely collect it. Swarming bees are not aggressive and will not sting unless they feel threatened,” he says.

Council Animal Liaison Officer Meggyn Lorimer is happy to take calls from the public in relation to bees.  “I am here to provide advice or refer people to someone who can help. The Council’s Customer Service Centre has a list of local beekeepers that are available to remove swarms that are causing concern or nuisance to the public.”

You can come along and meet John and other guest beekeepers from the Wellington Beekeepers Association at two special events for Bee Aware Month hosted by Council.

Find out more about events on our website: wcc.govt.nz/beeawaremonth