Friday, 17 August 2012 09:10

Love our threatened bees

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The National Beekeepers' Association is kicking off 'Love Our Kiwi Bees', a nationwide campaign to protect bees. National Bee Week in New Zealand runs from Monday (August 20) to August 24.

Bees worldwide are theatened but New Zealand bees are faring better than many and the NBA wants kiwis to give them a helping hand.

NBA president Barry Foster says threats facing bees include the varroa mite, pesticides and a decline in sources of pollen and nectar.

The National Beekeepers' Association is helping battle the varroa mite but they want New Zealanders to help combat the threat to bees from pesticides and a lack of food.

Beekeeping clubs around New Zealand will lobby their local mayors and councils to use bee friendly spraying policies in public gardens and along roadsides and waterways. They will also be asked to plant bee friendly trees and flowers.

And New Zealanders are being asked to help bees in their gardens at home by using bee friendly sprays and to plant flowers and trees that will provide food for bees.

"Without bees there would be hardly any fruit, flowers, herbs, vegetables or other crops. Without bees we would lose 2/3 of our food!" says Foster.

New Zealand bees are doing better than in many other countries, some of which have suffered from colony collapse disorder.

"Let's work together to protect our kiwi bees before it's too late."

The NBA suggests gardeners avoid using sprays and seeds that contain neonicotinoids which harm bees. It also calls on gardeners to only spray in the late evening with bee friendly sprays after bees are asleep. And it suggests plants in flower or plants that bees are seen feeding on should not be sprayed at all.

"New Zealanders also need to plant bee friendly trees and plants like fruit trees and old fashioned or heirloom flowers and herbs. We also need to protect swarms, not kill them. If you see a swarm of bees in a tree or on your house contact a local beekeeper to come and get them."

For more information about how to help bees go to www.nba.org.nz

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