Buzz around bees

Bees need to be protected and cared for. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Bees need to be protected and cared for. Photo / Brett Phibbs

August is Bee Awareness month.

Helping put the buzz back: De Winkel yoghurt has teamed up with the National Beekeeping Association, and a percentage of the proceeds from yoghurt sales will go towards the NBA. It is also distributing bee-friendly seeds to the public and will have information on its site about planting for bees. De Winkel is donating a bee garden in September for the community at the Sustainable Living Centre in New Lynn so members of the public can pop by and get ideas for their own gardens.

Bee month workshops: "Save The Bees" with Maureen Maxwell; "Seed Bombs and Guerilla Gardening" (with bee-friendly seed). Email info@ecomatters.org.nz for more info.

What can we do?

* Avoid using systemic pesticides in your garden. The poison becomes present inside the plant, making it toxic to most insects.

This year, three neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned in the EU.

* Even organic sprays such as pyrethrum can harm bees if applied at the wrong time of day. Never spray when the plant is flowering, and only in the evening when bees aren't active.

* Choose plants that will flower successively. That way bees will have something to feed on throughout the year.

* Choose simple flowers that haven't been bred into fancy doubles. These are often not good nectar or pollen providers and may be tricky for the bee to access.

* Allow your lawn and verge to grow a little longer and flower, encourage a range of plants in the lawn for diversity, sow clover seed.

* Lists of good plants for bees can be found at nba.org.nz/about-bees/beneficial-plants-for-bees; treesforbeesnz.org/garden. For bee-friendly seeds go to www.wildforage.co.nz.

* Farmers can access region-specific plant lists of bee-friendly shrubs and trees. treesforbeesnz.org/farms.

- Herald on Sunday

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