Love bees? Plant trees! (when you can)
New Zealand beekeepers are asking Kiwi bee lovers to ‘Feed the Bees’ this September for Bee Aware Month by planting trees and other plants that bees love.
Bee Aware Month is run every year by Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ), a national body representing beekeepers and honey producers. ApiNZ want New Zealanders to help our bees become strong and resilient so they can better deal with threats.
Kiwi bees face a lot of threats – varroa (a nasty parasite), diseases, habitat loss and climate change. “One of the best things that you can do to help bees is to plant bees that produce lots of high-quality bee food (pollen and nectar) at times when bees need it the most,” says ApiNZ chief executive Karin Kos.
Some of the best bee trees and plants are pip fruit trees (like apples, pears and quinces), rosemary, zinnias, sunflowers and pumpkin plants. While it’s difficult under Covid Alert Level 3 and 4 to buy and plant trees, you can still take a good look at your garden and find the perfect spot for a bee tree and then plant them when you can, says Ms Kos.
Bee Aware Month is also a great time to learn more about bees. ApiNZ has information and activity sheets here: https://apinz.org.nz/bee-aware-month-2021/ It is also running a kids’ art competition where kids can draw, paint, collage or sketch an artwork with the theme ‘Bees, Trees and Me’.
ApiNZ will choose 12 winners and create a special Bee Aware Month calendar to be sold to raise money for bee health research and education. There are fantastic prizes from Arataki Honey, Egmont Honey, Awapuni Nurseries, the Environmental Protection Authority and ApiNZ to be won!