News | 31 August 2021
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To bee or not to bee is no longer a question

September is Bee Aware Month – an opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate the vital contribution honey bees make in our environment, on our economy, and for the future of urban ecology.

Image of a bee eating nectar from a flower
Credit Nick Thorp

Once again, Wellington City Council is proudly partnering with Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) in this nation-wide campaign and encouraging everyone to get involved with a hive of activities online and events around the Capital. *

“Wellington City Council is committed to protecting the whole environment for its own intrinsic sake and for everyone to enjoy now – and in the future,” says Mayor Andy Foster.

“As guardians or kaitiaki of the natural environment around us, we support hundreds of initiatives, volunteer groups, projects and funding streams. Together these form part of our remarkable environmental restoration journey, protecting, restoring and preserving the City’s local ecology from the sea to the trees to the bees.

“Bees are estimated to be worth $5 billion a year to the New Zealand economy – and that’s without including the priceless investment they make towards our parks and gardens.

“This is a team effort, and every bit counts so let’s all do our bit and help feed the bees!”

Pūroro Āmua | Planning and Environment Committee Chair Councillor Iona Pannett agrees that bees are a precious taonga and should be treated as such.

“In the hierarchy of nature, the bee is surely at the top for the remarkable and essential work they do to ensure the stability of life supporting ecosystems is maintained.

“Events and activities may be affected with Alert Levels, but when it’s safe to do so, perhaps you can plant a bush or flowers in your garden, or join a volunteer group like Trees that Count to help save our bees.

“We celebrate the beautiful environment we are lucky enough to live in, and so we need to also celebrate the bees that are largely responsible for it.”

Bees are crucial to the growth of native bush, horticultural and agricultural crops, and community and private gardens which is why we advocate for them, says Apiculture NZ CEO Karin Kos

“While we have a strong bee population in New Zealand, our bees still face ongoing threats from pests, disease, habitat loss and climate change.

“This year we’re encouraging New Zealanders to feed the bees by planting trees or other bee-friendly plants. Even just a few flowers in your garden, a hanging basket or a planter box can make a world of difference to a bee, as floral diversity is key to maintaining bee nutrition and health.”

*Wellington City Council’s Bee Aware Month events and activities are Alert Level pending, but there will be lots going on online including giveaways, quizzes, and loads of amazing facts and interesting tips about our fuzzy friends.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information and entertainment during Bee Aware Month.

For more on Bee Aware Month check out ApiNZ’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

#OurWellington #TōTātouPōneke #BeeAware


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.