Auckland's suburbs are experiencing a bee revival, but hives of up to 30,000 bees are causing problems with excrement that dries into a hard waxy substance that is difficult to remove.

A number of bee groups and projects are behind the revival, which is part of a move to a wider ecosystem amid the concrete jungle of urban Auckland.

Andrea Reid is working to create a network of pollinator pathways in the city she told the Herald.

In the last few years the number of pollinators in the Auckland area have been reducing, Reid hopes to make a change.


"It's about creating a habitat for bees, butterflies, birds and different insects in an urban area so that they can move more freely and between the patches that they're held in.

"There's been a huge reduction of numbers over time and not many people see pollinators anymore, especially in the city.

"For people who are really into urban gardening they find it quite important because their plants aren't growing so well because they aren't getting pollination," she said.

Reid says a number of groups are making people more aware that they can have bees in the city.

For the Love of Bees is one such group, which has set up hives in Myers and Victoria Parks and is turning the historic Highwic House in Newmarket into the first inner-city organic park.

This involves the elimination of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, and the development of billions of flowers to provide foraging habitat all year round for bees and other pollinators.

For the Love of Bees spokeswoman, Sarah Smuts Kennedy, says every bee colony requires one billion flowers.

"You can put bees anywhere so long as they have enough food," Reid says.


Auckland Council has made it easy to keep bees in the city but it pays to show consideration for neighbours, says councillor Wayne Walker.

The biggest complaint, says council compliance investigations team manager, Max Wilde, is bee poo, typically yellow to brown trails within a 500m radius of the hive.

One bee is not a problem, Wilde said, but a healthy hive can contain between 5000 and 30,000 bees so the volume quickly adds up.

"Bee excrement dries into a really hard waxy substance that can be difficult to remove.

"It's not just a matter of washing it off - you need a water blaster - and when that happens over days, weeks and months on their property people can become justifiably fed up," he said.

Wilde said hives should not face children's play areas, neighbours' clotheslines or houses. Hives also need a nearby source of water to prevent them getting water from a nearby swimming pool, birdbath or even wet washing on a clothesline.

Beekeepers, he says, should prevent overcrowding and manage numbers.

"Bees forage in a radius of up to 5km from the hive, and having too many bees in a single area can cause competition between honeybee colonies."

He suggests anyone living in a residential area should talk to neighbours before getting a beehive.

"This will highlight any people with allergies, along with others who already have bee hives. It's worth considering that any more than one bee hive on a residential property with housing located in close formation is likely to cause a nuisance," Wilde said.

For information about keeping bees in Auckland go to council's animal management bylaw.