Bee Aware month is the perfect time to reflect upon the importance of honey bees in our gardens and our lives.
We New Zealanders enjoy a very special relationship with the humble honey bee — we need look no further than the Buzzy Bee, that charmingly noisy toy which has been following Kiwi kids about ever since the 1930s, for evidence of our strong affection for these tiny creatures.
Of course there are some very important reasons for this enduring endearment.
These buzzy pollinators play a hugely significant role in supporting New Zealand’s wide range of agricultural and horticultural activities, from the tiniest garden to the largest commercial enterprise.
Next time you go shopping, take a moment to think about it — there is a very strong possibility that a honeybee played a vital role in the creation of many of the items in your basket.
And we’ve been sharing the love, too.
New Zealand honey, especially our Manuka honey, has become the darling of world markets, all thanks to our very dedicated commercial beekeepers.
Up against some serious threats, including Varroa and American Foulbrood disease, beekeepers work tirelessly to keep their bees happy, healthy and humming along.
Hives have to be checked regularly to comply with New Zealand’s strict MPI regulations, which sometimes involves trekking through dense bush to hidden locations where honey bees can thrive.
There is no doubt about it — the highest quality honey comes from a lot of hard work and dedication.
Beekeeping is certainly a labour of love, and one from which all New Zealanders benefit — not just because we get to enjoy beautiful local honey, but because our beekeepers also help increase the numbers of bees.
Therefore, buying local is a fantastic choice; it doesn’t just support local agriculture and horticulture and leave a reduced carbon footprint — it supports our bee populations too. And, let’s face it, our bees need all the help they can get.
Truly, there is no better sound than the honey-scented drowse of bees in the summer, and nothing more delightful than watching a bee’s backside disappearing inside a flower.
So this September, as part of Bee Aware month, why not give something back to these gorgeous little creatures? Plant some wildflowers along that tatty fence line, or brighten up that bald patch around the letterbox.
Pop some flowers amongst your veggie garden, or fill a hanging basket. The bees will love you for it. And you’ll not only spread happiness by creating something beautiful, it’s also the perfect way to say thank you to our very special little friends.