Bee Aware Month: Keeping our bees healthyThursday, 13 September 2018
September is Bee Aware Month which means that it’s time for us to celebrate bees and learn about how to help protect New Zealand’s healthy bee population. It’s important for us to maintain the health of our bees – they’re responsible for producing our delicious honey and more importantly, bees are responsible for pollinating about one-third of the plants that we eat!
Here at Manuka Health, bees are the centre of everything we do, so together with our master beekeeper, Dave Campbell, we’re answering some bee FAQs.
What can I do to help look after bee health?
The most important thing to be aware of is sprays and pesticides. If you can, avoid spraying your gardens altogether, but if you do need to, make sure that you’re spraying in the morning or evening when bees aren’t out foraging.
“Bees love having a constant natural nectar source for as long as they can in the year” so when you’re thinking about your backyard, make sure that you have a good variety of nectar-producing plants.
Secondly, you can help your local bees out by keeping bee-friendly plants in your garden. Some common examples include lavender, clover, thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, fennel, coriander, parsley, oregano, echinacea, anise, catnip, chives, sunflowers, dandelions.
How does honey production impact bee populations?
Bees thrive when there is an abundance of nectar so, with good beekeeping practices, honey production can increase bee populations.
Dave Campbell explains, “We have a big focus in New Zealand on honey production compared to other countries. For example, the US where there is a big focus on pollination… pollination is harder for bees because you’re forcing them into an environment with no natural nectar source.”
So, with the increase in honey production in New Zealand, there has also been an increase in bee population because to produce honey, bees must have access to nectar which helps keep them healthy.
How does Manuka Health look after their bees?
We run off an annual production cycle and split the year into quarters: Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Within each quarter, we have specific procedures in place to ensure that our bees have exactly what they need to thrive.
In addition to looking after our bees throughout each season, we make sure that our hives are placed in remote, wild areas with very low risk of our bees being exposed to pesticides.
The Manuka Health bee health program ensures that bees are monitored and cared for all year around
For more information on Apiculture New Zealand’s Bee Aware month: https://apinz.org.nz/bee-aware-month/