text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation

Bee-Aware-Banner-2019.jpg

Love our Bees

Not only do our bees produce a wonderful food source, they also play critical roles in our food chain, biodiversity and economy.  The world needs bees!  Bee Aware Month, run by Apiculture New Zealand and supported by Mitre 10, is the month when we ask New Zealanders to celebrate our hard-working bees.

New Zealand has a healthy bee population with nearly 925,000 hives, but bees still need our care and protection.  Bees continue to face a number of threats including: biosecurity, disease, bugs and pesticides.  Fortunately there are some simple, easy things that everyone can do to help our bees.

How you can help

  • Feed our bees – Bees need food and water.  Planting bee-friendly wildflowers and providing a saucer of pesticide-free water for bees to drink, are simple, but very effective ways you can help improve bee health.  Well-nourished bees are more capable of fending off disease and parasites.
  • Eat New Zealand honey –  Our bees create a wide range of delicious, high quality honeys.  By eating these honeys you are supporting our beekeepers who work hard to care for our bees and their environment.
  • Spray safely – Choose bee-safe pesticides if you are spraying your garden or consider whether spraying is necessary at all.  Remember to spray when bees are away: early in the morning or at sunset. 

Throughout September, Apiculture New Zealand will be sharing facts about bees on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and their website, along with practical tips for how to help bees, bee quizzes, honey recipes and the opportunity for giveaways.

Tips to get your garden abuzz with bees

 

Bee friendly plants

Check out our list of plants that will not only give you a fabulous garden, but also help feed our bees.

Become a beekeeper

Help save our bees by becoming a beekeeper. This simple checklist has all the information you need.

Tips to get your garden abuzz with bees

No matter how big or small your garden is, there are a number of things you can do to help out the humble bee.

Here are our top tips to get your garden abuzz with bees:

  • Provide water. Bees need water so create a shallow water pool with a solid landing place to make your garden more appealing.
  • Plant flowers with single petals. Flowers with a single row of petals have more pollen than flowers with multiple rows of petals so are more attractive to bees and make it easier for bees to reach the pollen 
  • Bees more easily recognize and prefer certain colours: yellow, white, blue-green, blue, and ultraviolet or purple. Catch bees’ attention with these colours as well as patterns. Yellow is said to be their favourite.
  • Choose quality. Choose plants packed with pollen and nectar as bees will seek out plants that have higher quantities of both. Traditional heirloom plants tend to have more pollen and nectar than modern crossbred plant variations and native plants and flowers, herbs and perennials are popular with bees.
  • Plant flowering vegetable and fruit plants. Fragrant flowers and fruits attract bees so planting veges and fruits such as melons, berries, cucumbers, pumpkins, strawberries, peppers and cherry trees will draw bees in and be beneficial to the plants too.
  • Plant year round or plant flowers that bloom in sequence. If all your flowers bloom at the same time, a famine will follow the feast, leaving bees without food. Planting a variety of seasonal flowers that bloom through spring, summer and into autumn will keep the bees fed and happy.
  • Plant in blocks. Bees prefer clusters of one type of flower rather than a mixed flower bed but still like variety.
  • Spray selectively. Avoid using pesticides that are harmful to bees, and if you do spray with any product, do so after dusk when pollinators are less active. Also try to avoid spraying when plants are flowering.
  • Avoid wind. Bees prefer plants in sunny spots that are sheltered from the wind. 
  • Leave the lawns. Bees love clover and dandelion so try not to get rid of these immediately and leave them in your in the lawn for bees to forage on.

TIP: If you find yourself sharing your property with a swarm of bees don’t kill the bees to remove the swarm. Contact a local bee keeper for assistance.