Bees are responsible for pollination and so they are very important as a food source. That’s why they need be taken care of.
That’s one of the messages spread by Bee Aware Month launched last week by Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor.
The 10th Annual Bee Aware Month is a nation-wide celebration of bees and it highlights their importance for our ecosystem, food chain and economy.
“It’s just about realising the importance of bees”, says local producer and president of Nelson Apiculture New Zealand Hub, Murray Elwood.
“They do a lot of pollination. Without it, some plants wouldn’t give any fruit and other would be quite smaller. We do rely on the bees as a food source,” he says.
Murray has been bee keeping at Mountain Valley Honey for the last 27 years.
“I have 2,000 beehives. You get about 30 kg per hive in the course of the year. The season is from November-December to January-February. Sometimes it’s only a four or five week season. Sometimes you get two months. The bees do all they need to do in two months”, says Murray.
Bee Aware Month is coordinated by Apiculture New Zealand, and the theme this year is ‘Love our Bees’. New Zealanders are being asked to show their love by taking some simple steps to improve bee health such as planting bee-friendly plants like wildflowers and providing clean water for bee rehydration.
Bees also provide the much-loved sweet treat, honey, and Bee Aware Month is also an opportunity to celebrate the wide range of delicious and unique honeys produced here in New Zealand. “My personal belief is that if there were no beekeepers looking after bees in New Zealand, they would be already extinct. There wouldn’t be a bee left in the country. Beekeepers are crucial for looking after bees and it’s important for everyone to look after them,” says Murray.
Events to celebrate bees will be held across New Zealand, with a growing list of events available on the Apiculture New Zealand website. Kiwis are also encouraged to hold their own ‘Pollinator Parties’, when they gather friends together and plant bee-friendly plants in an unused area of garden or berm.