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Buzz growing for bee-friendly Kiwis

New Zealand bees were doing better than in many other countries. Photo / Thinkstock
New Zealand bees were doing better than in many other countries. Photo / Thinkstock

The National Beekeepers' Association (NBA) is launching a nationwide campaign aimed at protecting bees, called 'Love Our Kiwi Bees'.

Bees worldwide are under threat but New Zealand bees are faring better than many and the NBA wants Kiwis to give them a helping hand.

NBA president Barry Foster said bees faced a number of threats, including the varroa mite, pesticides and a decline in sources of pollen and nectar.

The NBA is helping battle the varroa mite, but wants New Zealanders to help combat the threat to bees from pesticides and a lack of food.

Beekeeping clubs will be lobbying their local mayors and councils to use bee-friendly spraying policies in public gardens and along roadsides and waterways. They will also be asked to plant bee-friendly trees and flowers.

And New Zealanders are being asked to help bees in their gardens at home by using bee-friendly sprays and to plant flowers and trees that will provide food for bees.

"Without bees there would be hardly any fruit, flowers, herbs, vegetables or other crops. Without bees we would lose two-thirds of our food," Mr Foster said.

New Zealand bees were doing better than in many other countries, some of which had suffered from colony collapse disorder.

"Let's work together to protect our Kiwi bees before it's too late."

The NBA suggests gardeners avoid using sprays and seeds that contain neonicotinoids which harm bees.

It also calls on gardeners to only spray in the late evening with bee-friendly sprays after bees are asleep. And it suggests plants in flower or plants that bees are seen feeding on should not be sprayed at all.

"New Zealanders also need to plant bee-friendly trees and plants like fruit trees and old-fashioned or heirloom flowers and herbs. We also need to protect swarms, not kill them. If you see a swarm of bees in a tree or on your house contact a local beekeeper."

- Te Awamutu Courier

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